MDC Alliance vice chairperson Job Sikhala has been granted $50 000 bail by the High Court and barred from posting audios and videos on any social media platforms, inciting violence and addressing any gatherings or virtual meetings until the finalisation of his case.
Sikhala had appealed against the decision of the remand court to deny him bail on charges of inciting public violence.
In granting him bail, Justice Erica Ndewere ruled that Sikhala’s conduct was not that of a fugitive evading the law, but was running away from alleged unknown persons who were trailing him.
The court found that Sikhala proved on a balance of probabilities that in the interest of justice, he should be released on bail in view of the evidence adduced in the lower court.
Most of the evidence from the record of proceedings was fraught with inconsistencies and numerous concessions that failed to justify compelling reasons why Sikhala could not be granted bail, the court found.
In this regard, Justice Ndewere said whatever fears the State had could be eliminated by the imposition of appropriate bail conditions for Sikhala’s release.
The State alleged that the police looked for Sikhala and did not find him.
The court found no evidence placed before the lower court to support that claim.
She criticised the police for allowing themselves to be derailed by social media posts instead of invoking their own police procedures to look for Sikhala.
“Instead of establishing their own trail of evidence, it appears the police were following up the appellant’s social media posts to the disadvantage of the State, which did not get evidence proving that indeed the police looked for the appellant,” said Justice Ndewere.
She considered that Sikhala’s co-accused, Hopewell Chin’ono and Jacob Ngarivhume, who are facing similar charges, were granted bail.
Sikhala was then granted $50 000 bail after he failed to provide surety in the form of immovable property.
He was directed to surrender his travel documents and reside at his given address.
Further, he was told not to interfere with State witnesses and report three times a week at St Mary’s Police Station in Chitungwiza until the matter is finalised.