Zimbabwe court upholds incitement charge against MP

A court in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, has refused to dismiss a charge of incitement against a firebrand opposition lawmaker.

It paves the way for his trial in the run-up to general elections scheduled for later this year.

Job Sikhala has been held in a maximum security prison in Harare since June after being arrested alongside fellow members of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party.

He was charged for allegedly inciting riots that erupted when opposition supporters clashed with youths from the ruling Zanu-PF party, following the murder of opposition member Moreblessing Ali in June 2022.

The magistrate ruled that there was “overwhelming” evidence against the Zengeza West legislator.

“The court cannot, therefore, ignore all this evidence; for the evidence calls for an answer from the accused person,” Marewanazvi Gofa said.

Mr Sikhala’s lawyer said they will file an urgent appeal against the ruling, a local media report.

If convicted, the lawmaker will be unable to contest the upcoming elections, whose date has not yet been set but many expect will be in early August.

Rights groups and opposition parties have complained of an escalating clampdown ahead of the vote.

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