Zimbabwean opposition figure Job Sikhala is set to regain his freedom after spending over a year and a half in prison. The Harare court handed Sikhala a suspended two-year sentence for inciting public violence, marking the end of a politically charged trial. Another opposition member, Godfrey Sithole, faced similar charges and received the same suspended sentence.
Sikhala, a vocal critic of the government and leader in the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), had been arrested multiple times throughout his political career. The recent conviction stemmed from allegations of inciting supporters to avenge the death of a political ally, Moreblessing Ali, who was murdered in May 2022.
The court’s decision brings relief to Sikhala’s supporters, who celebrated outside the courthouse. His lawyer, Harrison Nkomo, confirmed that Sikhala is expected to be released within the next 48 hours. Nkomo also announced plans to appeal the conviction, emphasizing the pursuit of an acquittal.
Having endured nearly 600 days of pretrial detention in Chikurubi maximum prison, Sikhala is notable as the only Zimbabwean politician to face such an extended period without trial. His release marks a significant development in a country where political dissent has faced increasing scrutiny.