OUTSPOKEN MDC Alliance vice chairperson Job Sikhala says he has been critical of the government since he was 16 years old and would not flee the country despite the State’s desire to persecute critics into exile.
Sikhala is fighting to be admitted to bail after he was arrested on allegations of inciting people to commit public violence.
His bail application continues today with lead counsel Eric Matinenga expected to make his closing submissions.
Sikhala was yesterday put on the stand by his lawyers in support of their application and he told the court he is an “apostle of peace” and allergic to violence as he had experienced it in 2003 at the hands of the State.
He said he has not had peace ever since he was acquitted recently of subversion allegations by the High Court in Masvingo and also when minister Kazembe Kazembe held a press conference inferring that he was among a group of people planning a coup in the country.
The State is opposed to Sikhala’s application for bail, saying he is a flight risk as he had been on the run for close to a month before his arrest in Tynwald North a fortnight ago while reportedly hiding in a ceiling.
The State said police went to the extent of making a press statement looking for Sikhala, but he never presented himself.
Sikhala is disputing the State’s narrative, saying he was never on the run as the police were not looking for him.
He said he even advised his lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa to consult with the police if they wanted him and they reportedly indicated they were not looking for him.
Sikhala even denied hiding in the ceiling, saying his frame did not allow him to fit through a ceiling panel.
He said he was arrested in the bedroom together with his wife at his brother-in-law’s house, contrary to what the police said.
This, he said, was after his return from his farm in Gutu and learnt that his wife had moved to Tynwald for her safety after being hounded by suspected State agents.
He said he had no knowledge the police were after him and that the officers who testified — Collin Makore and Victor Mukohwe — actually knew where he could be found and were always visiting his offices for some beer and money for lunch.