Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole have received a wholly suspended two-year jail sentence for inciting public violence, with their release imminent.
The sentence, issued on Tuesday, stems from their involvement in inciting violence in Nyatsime in 2022 following the murder of Moreblessing Ali. The guilty verdict was delivered by Harare magistrate Mrs Tafadzwa Miti after a full trial.
During the trial, State representative Mr Ephraim Zinyandu emphasized the severe consequences of the offense, including property destruction and citizens’ insecurity. Zinyandu highlighted the deterrent effect on potential investors, emphasizing the negative impact of violence on a country’s business environment.
While acknowledging Sikhala’s nearly two-year custody, the State urged the court to consider the broader societal impact. In response, the defense, led by Harrison Nkomo, pleaded for leniency, proposing either a wholly suspended prison term or a US$300 fine at level 6. Nkomo underscored Sikhala’s role as a family man, emphasizing the adverse effects of imprisonment on his and his extended family’s livelihoods.
Representing Sithole, Mr Oliver Marwa argued that his client supported 50 children through a trust, facing negative consequences if imprisoned.
During the trial, evidence revealed Sikhala’s role in posting a video on social media, encouraging CCC supporters to seek retribution for Moreblessing Ali’s death. He also organized transportation for people from Epworth and nearby areas to Nyatsime. The violence resulted in 20 families becoming homeless and extensive damage to shops, tuck-shops, and vehicles in Nyatsime, as CCC supporters attacked residents indiscriminately.