The continued arbitrary detention of opposition leader and MP Job Sikhala and MP Godfrey Sithole is a testament to Zimbabwe’s politicized justice system, Amnesty International said today, 100 days after their detention.
The continued arbitrary detention of Sikhala and Sithole is unjust and abusive
Lucia Masuka, Executive Director of Amnesty International Zimbabwe
“The continued arbitrary detention of Sikhala and Sithole is unjust and abusive. It has caused them and their families untold emotional suffering,” said Lucia Masuka, Executive Director of Amnesty International Zimbabwe.
“The Zimbabwean authorities cannot continue to detain Sikhala and Sithole on fabricated charges. They must be released immediately and unconditionally.”
Sikhala and Sithole were arrested on June 14, 2022 after attending the funeral of political activist Moreblessing Ali, who went missing for three weeks before being found murdered and mutilated on June 11, 2022.
Zimbabwean authorities have accused MPs of encouraging their supporters to use violence during Ali’s memorial service in Nyatsime, Chitungwiza. They face charges of incitement to violence and were denied bail when they appeared in magistrates’ court. Several appeals for bail have since been denied.
The Zimbabwean authorities can no longer detain Sikhala and Sithole on fabricated charges. They must be released immediately and unconditionally
As government critics and members of the opposition are frequently harassed and arrested, Amnesty International believes that the charges against Sikhala and Sithole and the refusal to bail them are an attempt by the Zimbabwean authorities to pursue and silence the political opposition.
The Zimbabwean authorities must stop criminalizing dissent
“The continued detention of Sikhala and Sithole is a farce of justice. They are victims of a government bent on silencing the voices of the opposition,” said Lucia Masuka.
“Zimbabwean authorities must stop criminalizing dissent and instead create an enabling environment for people to express themselves freely.”
Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole are senior members of the country’s main opposition party, the Citizen’s Coalition for Change. Sikhala is chairman and Godfrey Sithole is MP for Chitungwiza North. They were arbitrarily detained for 100 days, sometimes without access to lawyers.