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Zimbabwe opposition leader Job Sikhana released after court decision

Sameera Casmod | sameerac@radioislam.co.za
02 February 2024 | 10:14 a.m. SAST
1-min read

Image: Zimbabwe Independent

The Zimbabwean opposition politician, Job Sikhala, was freed after 600 days of pre-trial detention on Tuesday when a Harare court handed him a suspended sentence.

Sikhala joined the Movement of Democratic Change (MDC) in 1999 with the objective of ending injustice and tyranny. The MDC, according to reports, was the first party to oppose the Mugabe-led Zanu-PF party.

Sikhala, a leading politician in the opposition party Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) was detained on charges of inciting public violence in June 2022, and has been arrested more than 60 times in his 25-year political career.

At the time of his arrest, which has been described by human rights groups as a crackdown on dissent in Zimbabwe, he was among the most instrumental figures in the country’s opposition politics, according to media activist Nigel Nyamutumbu.

“[He] indeed was one of those leading lights insofar as championing the quest for change; insofar as pushing back…And in particular in this case it was involving the depth of an opposition activist. So yes he is well-decorated within the opposition ranks,” Nyamutumbu said during an interview with Radio Islam international.

When asked to comment on the judicial independence in the country, Nyamutumbu said that the conflation of state powers, where the executive wields significant power over the judiciary and legislature, undermines the independence of the courts.

Despite the optimism surrounding Sikhana’s release, Nyamutumbo notes that reforms are necessary to address the shrinking democratic space and ensure the protection of human rights. He discussed calls for a national dialogue to reaffirm core values and constitutional principles.

Listen to the full interview on Sabaahul Muslim with Moulana Junaid Kharsany.

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