'It's not a criminal offence to have intentions of overthrowing a government'


OUTSPOKEN MDC Vice Chairperson, Job Sikhala was Friday acquitted at the Masvingo High Court where he was facing subversion charges for threatening to remove President Emmerson Mnangagwa from office before 2023.

He was acquitted after his defence counsel led by top human rights lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, made an application for Sikhala not to be put on trial.  

Sikhala was arrested last year after addressing a rally in Bikita where he is alleged to have called for the unconstitutional removal of Mnangagwa from office.

However, in handing down his judgment, Justice Garainesu Mawadze noted that the court cannot put Sikhala on trial based on the case built by the State. He said the State had based its case on statements they took out of context.

The judge said it was not a criminal offence to have intentions of overthrowing a government, although it had to be carried out using constitutional means. He added Sikhala was exercising his constitutional right as a politician when he uttered the words.

Justice Mawadze also blasted the State for failing to understand the difference between overthrowing a president as an individual and as a government.

Charges against Sikhala arose in Bikita last December when he told MDC supporters at a rally that Mnangagwa would be removed from office before 2023.