Job Sikhala, a Zimbabwean opposition lawmaker, made a mitigation statement on May 2, 2023, as he awaits sentencing for inciting public violence. Sikhala has been in detention since June 14, 2022, under solitary confinement and shackled in chains. He stated that he was being persecuted under the guise of prosecution, and his case was never about the law. Instead, it was about seeking justice for Moreblessing Ali, a girl who was murdered in Zimbabwe. Sikhala was prevented from representing Ali’s family, who were seeking legal support. He accused the state of extracting a conviction from a horde of lies and unscrupulously obtained evidence.
Sikhala further stated that the legal issues before the court were elementary and that the crime was borne out of allowing a police officer to arrest a person based on a video clip found on an entertainment site. He said that this precedent would make a circus out of Zimbabwe’s criminal justice system, and those with a score to settle against others had been given a carte blanche.
Sikhala refused to accept that Zimbabwe’s version of Justitia had blindfolds during his trial and was holding the scales of justice. He stated that his fate was usurped by his oppressors, who were intentionally or unintentionally aiding and abetting Moreblessing Ali’s killers. He left it to history to judge him and pronounce its own verdict. He stated that his fate, even his demise while shackled in the oppressor’s prison, would not put an end to the quest for justice.
Sikhala resonated with the writings of Freeborn Muronda, who was born in Rhodesia, a now-defunct racist country, and stated that his spirit was always free despite lacking political or human rights. Sikhala stated that whatever penalty was imposed against him would not contain the ideal of seeking justice against the callous murder of Moreblessing Ali or the ideal of a free, peaceful, and just Zimbabwe.
The court is expected to announce Sikhala’s sentence soon. Meanwhile, his mitigation statement has drawn attention to the state of Zimbabwe’s criminal justice system and the need for justice for Moreblessing Ali.
Here is Job Sikhala's mitigation statement : 11. Let me be labelled the villain today. Let the murderers of Moreblessing Ali rejoice. Let my tormentors celebrate this pyrrhic victory. Posterity will be my judge. History chapters are replete with these kinds of oppressions. Oppressors read from the same script. I am neither the first nor the last to be nailed for seeking justice for the downtrodden. That is the only crime I ever committed. I did not seek to defeat justice. Far from it. Justice in the eyes of oppressor is injustice to the oppressed. If I am guilty of seeking universal justice that is accessible and applicable to all regardless of status, let the oppressors celebrate. They have won the battle, but the war will be won by the people. Facts Alleged and Perled of Detention 12. I have been in detention under solitary confinement since 14 June 2022 shackled in chains like a terrorist. Over the past ten months, I have been kept away from my family. I have been deprived of my ability to fend for them. [In my bail applications, I have fully set out my family details which I incorporate herein] I have been kept away from my occupation as a representative of the people of Zengeza West. I have been kept away from my law office and prevented from representing my clients. I have been prevented from providing legal support to the grieving family of Moreblessing Ali who only desire justice for what happened to their daughter, sister, mother, cousin, friend and confidante.'13. Though the State extracted a conviction from its horde of lies and unscrupulously obtained evidence, the real solution to this matter lies in society itself, 10 14. The legal issues that were before this court are basic and ele KOmentary. It is certainly repulsive to any right-thinking citizen, that a crime can be borne out of and sustained by allowing a police officer, in the comfort of his office, without having anything else to do but surfing the internet for entertainment on YouTube, to come across a video created and uploaded by an enterprising content creator, and therefrom arrest a person who neither has knowledge of the video and is unaware of its circulation and send them to jail. Moreso, based on a video clip, found on an entertainment site, created and posted by unknown people seeking to provide entertainment. This precedence will make a circus out of our criminal justice system. Those with a score to settle against others have been given a carte blanche. They can easily pay enterprising content creators to create a video of a person they have a vendetta against making certain utterances that can be deemed to be offensive and leak it to our gullible police who have no will to investigate but exceeding zeal to arrest and detain. The script against me is choreographed. 16. I make this statement, fully appreciating that this case has never been about the law. It is persecution under the guise of prosecution. I refuse to accept that Zimbabwe's version of Justitia had blindfolds during the course of my trial. I refuse to accept that she was holding the scales of justice. I have seen, felt and fallen victim, of the terrible blows brought to bear upon me by her sword. 17. History will be my judge. Posterity will be my guide.18. I have no control over my fate today. It was usurped by my oppressors. It was usurped by those who are, intentionally or unintentionally, aiding and abetting Moreblessing Ali's killers. I can only leave it to history to be the judge. I will let society, to whom this court must bear allegiance, pronounce its own verdict. 19. If I have strayed from any of the virtues of ubuntu. If it was wrong for me to join the call for justice for Moreblessing Ali. If I should have refrained from offering legal representation to a family in grief, then I will gladly accept whatever punishment is meted against me. 20 20. I leave it to history to judge me. My conscience is clear. My fate, even my demise while shackled in the oppressor's prison will not put an end to the quest for justice. The pages of history will always turn at some point, to the victim's glory. It may take decades, even centuries, but the truth shall come out. 17 21. Those who came before me succeeded in removing the yoke of colonial rule. It took them close to a century to do so. I am only fifty years old. The walls of Chikurubi have been my companion and friend for over ten months now. Prison walls confined the iconic Nelson Mandela for twenty- seven years but did not confine his ideals and did not kill his spirit. Prison walls confined several leaders of the liberation struggle, but it failed to contain the ideals they stood for. The hangmen's noose cut short the life of Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi but did not kill their ideals they stood for. Whatever penalty that may be imposed against me will not contain the ideal of seeking justice against the callous murder of Moreblessing Ali, nor will it contain the ideal of a free, peaceful and just Zimbabwe. 22. I resonate with the following writings of Freeborn Muronda I was born in a now defunct racist country called Rhodesia all Africans born in that country were without political rights but in spite of it all human rights or any kind of rights my spirit was always free.DATED AT HARARE THIS 2nd DAY OF MAY 2023 JOB SIKHALA Accused THE CLERK OF COURT ANTI-CORRUPTION COURT TO: Norther Region Harare Magistrates Court Rotten Row HARARE AND TO: Public Prosecutor [Mr. Madhume and Mr. Bofu] National Prosecuting Authority Harare Magistrates Court Rotten Row HARARE.