Zimbabwe MP goes on trial for trying to overthrow govt

accreditation
Movement for Democratic Change party leader Nelson Chamisa (R), vice-president Tendai Biti (C) and vice-Chairman Job Sikhala.
Movement for Democratic Change party leader Nelson Chamisa (R), vice-president Tendai Biti (C) and vice-Chairman Job Sikhala.
Zinyange Auntony

A leading Zimbabwean opposition lawmaker pleaded not guilty to charges that he planned to overthrow President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a lawyers' group said on Monday, the latest in a series of cases to target government critics.

Job Sikhala, vice chairman of the main opposition the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, was arrested in July, after he criticised the government at a rally in the southern Masvingo province.

The 47-year-old was subsequently released on bail.

At the opening of the trial on Monday Prosecutor Tawanda Zvekare told the court in Masvingo city that Sikhala was planning to subvert the government "through unconstitutional means" at the MDC event.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said Sikhala pleaded not guilty and was seeking to have the subversion charges dropped.

"(Sikhala's prosecution) is just harassment of the opposition legislator through the use of the criminal justice system," said rights lawyers grouping.

Several government critics have been charged with subversion since Mnangagwa came to power in 2017 following a coup that ousted long-time ruler Robert Mugabe.

Prosecutors last year dropped treason charges against leading civil rights activist and priest Evan Mawarire, who was arrested in January 2019 for calling on Zimbabweans to miss work for a day in protest at the doubling of fuel prices.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Facebook is facing a fresh crisis after a former employee turned whistle-blower leaked internal company research. Do you still use Facebook?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, the benefits outweigh the risk for me
33% - 1776 votes
No, I have deleted it
38% - 2064 votes
Yes, but I am considering deleting it
30% - 1619 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
14.61
+1.1%
Rand - Pound
20.07
+0.6%
Rand - Euro
16.95
+1.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.84
+1.0%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+1.6%
Gold
1,767.22
-1.6%
Silver
23.32
-0.9%
Palladium
2,076.50
-3.1%
Platinum
1,060.26
-0.1%
Brent Crude
84.00
+1.0%
Top 40
60,494
+0.2%
All Share
67,029
+0.3%
Resource 10
64,347
-0.1%
Industrial 25
84,819
+0.7%
Financial 15
13,961
-0.3%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE