The Zimbabwe Sentinel-Media Centre

Telling the other story – MEDIA CENTRE

Crime and Courts

Wholly Suspended Prison Term For Sikhala

By Staff Reporter

Harare Magistrate Feresi Chakanyuka has sentenced former Zengeza West parliamentarian Job Sikhala to a nine-month prison term, wholly suspended for five years, contingent upon him avoiding any similar offenses during this period.

In addition to the suspended sentence, Sikhala was slapped with a US$500 fine, with a deadline for payment set for March 4, 2024. Failure to meet this financial obligation would result in a two-month imprisonment.

Speaking to reporters outside the Harare Magistrates, Sikhala’s lawyer, Harrison Nkomo, shed light on the peculiar circumstances of the case.

Nkomo emphasized that Sikhala was convicted under Section 31 subsection 1 paragraph 3 of the Criminal Law Codification—a law criminalizing the publication of falsehoods. Notably, this law had been nullified by the Constitutional Court in 2014. Despite this legal backdrop, the magistrate proceeded with the sentencing.

Nkomo expressed his dissatisfaction with the judgment, stating, “We just came out of court for the sentencing of Job Sikhala for contravening a law nullified by the Constitutional Court in 2014. The magistrate proceeded to pronounce a sentence, and Job Sikhala has been sentenced as follows: 9 months imprisonment, wholly suspended for five years, on condition that he does not commit a similar offense within the specified period.

“Additionally, he has been ordered to pay a fine of US$500, failing which he shall spend an effective 2 months in prison, with the deadline set for March 4, 2024.”

The lawyer affirmed their intention to file an appeal against the judgment, asserting that it lacks foundation since it is based on a section of the law struck off the statutes.

Nkomo stated, “We are going to file our appeal as a registration of our displeasure with the judgment. We disagree with it; it has no foundation, it is not sound. The law no longer exists, and it is wrong for a court to convict someone on a law that no longer exists. The effect of striking off a section by the Constitutional Court means it is dead; how does it resuscitate? No way it can.”

Meanwhile, Sikhala still faces two outstanding cases, both of which have been concluded, and they are now awaiting rulings.


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