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Hon Job Sikhala’s open letter – Cry the Beloved Zimbabwe

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🗞️Open Letter From Political Prisoner, JOB SIKHALA


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Zimbabwean Political detainee & opposition Member of Parliament Job Sikhala wrote this letter from prison which has been delivered to world leaders talking about not only his plight, but that of Zimbabweans.

He started by explaining the background of his arrest.
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Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison

Harare, Zimbabwe

03 August 2022

INTRODUCTION

I write to you all, your Excellencies, Heads of State and Heads of Government in my capacity as a citizen of the global village. I am writing to you from a Maximum Security Prison in Zimbabwe, called Chikiurubi. Please bear with me on the way how this letter will reach your office as I have authorised my international lawyers Amsterdam and Partners (LF) based in Washington DC and London to circulate, and any Zimbabwean who would have come across it, to forward it to you.

My name is Job Sikhala, a Zimbabwean lawyer and opposition Member of Parliament, aged 49 years and a senior official of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) political party.

On the 14 June 2022 I was arrested by the Government of Zimbabwe and I am currently detained at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison, for the umpteenth time. I was arrested together with another opposition Member of Parliament Godfrey Sithole, accused of the crime of incitement to cause public violence. Furthermore, the Government re-arrested me on 15 July 2022from prison and pressed more charges against me, this time charging me with defeating or obstructing the course of justice.

BACKGROUND

On 24 May 2022 a woman by the name of Moreblessing Ali, was abducted around 2100 hours and was later found brutally murdered. Her body was in a state of decomposition and cut into several pieces. Moreblessing Ali was a strong opposition activist whose murder is strongly linked to the ruling party ZANU PF.

After he abduction and forced disappearance on 24 May 2022, the murdered woman’s family engaged me to be their family lawyer. My instructions were to demand from the authorities the truth about her whereabouts and to demand justice for her. The Government in an attempt to conceal the truth about the circumstances around the depressing abduction, went into a hysterical public campaign against myself, through statements issued by senior Government officials and its propaganda mouthpieces inciting and calling for my arrest.

The campaign won and on 14 June 2022 at around 2000 hours the Government dispatched a swarm of its paratroopers, secret security agents and the police totalling over 100 members. They raided my house in the high-density suburb of St Marys in Chitiungwiza and arrested me.

Since that day of arrest to the present day I have been kept in prison at Chikiurubi, a concentration-camp monster on the outskirts of Harare. The prison resembles Adolf Hitler’s Nazi concentration camp and Josef Stalin’s Siberia. The Government courts have consistently denied me bail and are determined to keep me in this concentration camp.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF MY PERSECUTION BY THE STATE

I started public leadership since my days as a student leader at the University of Zimbabwe in the late 1990s. I was elected as the Member of Parliament for the St Mary’s constituency in the year 2000 as a young graduate. I am currently the Member of Parliament for a constituency called Zengeza West. My troubles started soon after election into public office in the year 2000.

The late former President Robert Mugabe’s government arrested me more than 60 times until the time of his downfall. Despite the 60 arrests, I was acquitted of all the politically motivated charges against me. This was so because Robert Mugabe was not one to interfere with the criminal justice system, neither did he create funny courts to persecute opponents. The judiciary in the criminal justice system operated independently of the dictator of the Executive.

Furthermore, Mugabe had no command structure to dictate what judicial officers must do against his opponents. That is the reason why his most fierce nemesis, the late Morgan Tsvangirai was acquitted of the nefarious treason charge.

On all my troubles under Robert Mugabe’s reign, the State went overboard and tortured me in the 18 January 2003 together with my (then) lawyer Gabriel Shumba, my friend Charles Mutame and Taurai Magaya. The torture ignited international outrage. It became an important issue at the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) summit held in Brisbane, Australia in 2003. It caused the swift exit of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth.

After the downfall of former President Robert Mugabe from power in November 2017, the new ruler(s) intensified their persecution of my person. They arrested me on 26 June 2019 and accused me of treason. They alleged that I was plotting to overthrow the government using unconstitutional means. I was tried in the High Court in a city called Masvingo. I was acquitted of all the manufactured allegations.

The government did to surrender its propensity to persecute me. They arrested me again in August 2020 and the matter is still pending in the Courts up to the present accusing me of incitement to cause public violence over the public’s successful stay home of 31 July 2020.

There was no single incident ever witnessed in Zimbabwe. Unsatisfied they arrested me once more again with the prominent Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and a prominent female lawyer and my Party’s spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere accusing us of publishing falsehoods using our social media handles. For the umpteenth time, they have arrested me again in 2022 – twice – and have thrown me into this concentration camp Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.

FACTS ABOUT THE PRESENT ARREST AND INCARCERATION

As alluded to above I am currently being incarcerated at the most horrible place called Chikiurubi Maximum Security Prison since 14 June 2022 up till now.

It is very clear from everything that the government and their agents have said and done, that they are determined that I should not be given bail. Their reasons are political and have nothing to do with the law. They want maximum persecution knowing that their allegations against me are frivolous and vexatious.

PRESENT STATE OF AFFAIRS IN ZIMBABWE

Since the overthrow of the late President Robert Mugabe in 2017, Zimbabwe has turned into a nightmare for opposition political persons. More than 20 people have been arrested and charged with treason. This is three times more than all the persons charged with this offence during the 37-year period of Mugabe’s rule. At present more than 100 opposition members are facing various charges in the government’s courts of law.

What makes it even more bizarre is that senior opposition political leaders, prominent journalists, civic society leaders are being regarded as critics of the government and social activists are being dragged to a specialised court called the Corruption Court. The public’s anticipation was that it would deal with corruption cases only to find out that it has been turned into a persecution court for the opponents of the government. The cases for all politically related charges are given Ant-Corruption reference case numbers. This is unprecedented in civilised societies that uphold the rule of law, democracy and constitutionalism.

My current two manufactured charges by the government are before this court, a development that has eroded public confidence in the criminal justice system of Zimbabwe. The rule of law has totally broken down here in Zimbabwe.

WHAT DO I EXPECT OF YOU

The world cannot remain silent when the people of Zimbabwe are under siege. There is total breakdown of the rule of law in Zimbabwe such that people are being thrown into prison without fair trial. The right to a fair trial is a universal concept of law and a pillar of international law. The people of Zimbabwe are denied the right to a fair trial. We don’t have fair trials here, we only have political persecution.

Now is the time for the world to speak against the excesses of the Zimbabwe government against its citizens.

Hon. Job Sikhala

Member of Parliament imprisoned in Zimbabwe

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When President Mnangagwa signed a document purporting to be his mate, see the reality?

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Hopewell Chin’ono’s Hypocrisy Exposed by Mr. Tinashe Mpasiri

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On 24 November 2022, Mr. Hopewell Chin’ono shared this tweet on his wall: https://twitter.com/daddyhope/status/1595758807392534528?s=20&t=YflO7bnB-32EN89x_0fPfQ with the following message directed to nameless and faceless South Africans:

“What we ask from South African citizens is for your President to STOP sanitizing Corrupt Rule in Zimbabwe and to STOP lying that our economy was destroyed by sanctions Listen to our President speak about the LOOTING in 1996.

Why doesn’t your president speak about free elections?”

The above mentioned tweet led to a conversation between Mr. Mpasiri, a member of the Justice Under Rule of Law (JUROL) and Mr. Chin’ono as set out on this link: https://heyzine.com/flip-book/d47b109920.html.

When asked why he had chosen to share a video of 1996 in support of his narrative that President Ramaphosa was guilty of sanitizing the corrupt practices by President Mnangagwa and his administration, Mr. Chin’ono responded as follows:

“ZPF leading Public officials operate with criminal business partners to loot public resources. For all intents and purposes sanctions are not the cause of Zim economic quagmire but ZPF looting public purse thru its puppet business partners from as far back as 1996?”

Advocate Matiza, a member of the Justice Under Rule of Law made the following observations and also a participant in the Banking on Africa’s Future (BOAF) – Legal Literacy WhatsApp group, commended as follows: “It is clear from the above that by importing the video in which Mr. Mawere was featured with Minister Mnangagwa as he was known then, Mr. Chin’ono was openly alleging that Mr. Mawere was Mnangagwa’s then criminal business partner who was his accomplice in looting public resources of Zimbabwe.

However, when exposed by Mr. Mpasiri, a member of JUROL and BOAF, Mr. Chin’ono backtracked as set out below:

TINASHE MPASIRI v HOPEWELL CHIN’ONO
TM: Good morning Mr Chin’ono.
My name is Tinashe Mpasiri and I am a member of the Justice Under Rule Of Law (JUROL).
I am an avid follower of your posts and exposé and certainly wish that there were more
Zimbabweans like you, working towards a diverse, inclusive, progressive and prosperous future
for all.
I just wanted to greet you and share with you a post that was shared in a group I am a part of,
that you may be able to shed more light on it.
https://twitter.com/daddyhope/status/1595758807392534528?s=08
HC: Thank you. I did an interview last night on the issue. Feel free to share it in your group
Find it here;
https://twitter.com/daddyhope/status/1595853417355784192?s=46&t=6iHx7x2V4i8IiLZyIobk_g
TM: Thank you very much sir.
Just for your information, I belong to a group with officials from Wits University and questions
arose yesterday after your sharing of the video.
I have been asked to communicate with you so I get clarity, so we can share with a proper
context.
Your narrative on the tweet is about president Ramaphosa’s failure to act on corruption in
Zimbabwe, but the content of the video, appears nothing to do with the corruption angle.
Kindly assist with the link between the two.
HC: Good morning. Thank you for the question and you can share this audio in your group, you have my permission.
President Ramophosa has been at the forefront of saying incorrectly that the economic crisis in Zimbabwe has been caused by sanctions, which is not true.
The video that you are referencing, is meant to show that the economic crisis in Zimbabwe
started way before sanctions were imposed by western countries.
The economic crisis was authored by looting of public funds by ZANU PF elites and their business surrogates and the plunder of the country’s natural resources.
That video shows president Mnangagwa when he was Finance Minister in 1996, speaking at an event in Washington explaining how public funds have been looted.
So my point is that the president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa shouldn’t be going around
misleading unsuspecting audiences, by saying that the economic crisis in Zimbabwe is being
caused by sanctions.
So for instance, president Ramaphosa talks about the social services pressures that are exerted by Zimbabweans coming into South Africa to use things like public services like health care. And all hospitals in Zimbabwe, all central hospitals in Zimbabwe, five of them, they only require 50 million to run without any shortages and that will make sure that Zimbabweans don’t have to cross the border into South Africa to seek public services that are provided through hospitals but these hospitals in Zimbabwe don’t have paracetamol.
The biggest hospital in Zimbabwe, Sally Mugabe hospital does not even have paracetamol, it
doesn’t have basic things like bandages and 50 million is only, that’s all we need to run our
central hospitals, but it’s not being availed to these central hospitals.
Now, ZANU PF by its own admission, says that 150 million USD worth of gold is being smuggled by ZANU PF elites and their surrogates every month. Which means what they steal in one month can run our central hospitals for 3 years.
That is the point that I making that president Ramaphosa is misleading unsuspecting audiences by saying that the crisis in Zimbabwe which is over spilling into South Africa, is being caused by sanctions, it’s not true it’s caused by sanctions. It’s caused by mis-governance. Thank you.
TM: Thank you very much Mr. Chin’ono.
This is very helpful and I believe we can build a shared understanding of only when we engage.
I will share your insights in my circles and beyond.
A number of questions emerge from your audio. By surrogates and having had the benefit to watch the video, who would be the surrogates and especially having regard to the fact that Minister Mnangagwa (as he were then), was speaking to a different subject matter involving empowerment and the role of government in financing it.
I could be wrong, but it is self-evident that he was talking about government programs whose
execution resulted in financial support being diverted to personal use.
Your response to the above would greatly assist.
HC: Surrogates were people like Mutumwa Mawere who was his front until they fell out.
Today surrogates refers to people like Kuda Tagwirei who has been a front for State looting
using his myriad of companies.

Here Mr. Chin’ono identifies Mr. Mawere as Mnangagwa’s front until they allegedly fell out.

This narrative is similar to the one peddled by Chin’ono’s friend and President Mnangagwa’s confidante and lawyer, Mr. Edwin Manikai as follows:

The message above was authored by Mr. Manikai on 27 March 2021 and was addressed to Mr. Fred Mutanda. The version peddled by Mr. Chin’ono is the same as Manikai’s version.
Mr. Manikai in the middle with Mr. Hopewell Chin’ono
Mr. Manikai in the picture with the visiting American delegation of Senators to Zimbabwe and his wife and Hon. Mliswa, Manikai’s best friend.
The SMM heist gang who authored and executed the divestment and deprivation of the control of 26 companies employing 20,000 people in 2004 using public power described as the precursor to the coup of November 2017 that was orchestrated by the same gang against Mugabe after successfully prosecuting the coup against SMM and related entities.

TM: Thank you for the honest response and obviously when I watched the video, I could not make the link between Mutumwa Mawere and the looting.
Perhaps you can share evidence supporting the allegation of surrogacy and the corruption
therefore in, so that I can afford both president Mnangagwa and Mawere to give their own
account of the precise nature of the alleged link between public power and private benefit.
Unfortunately, the video’s content does not establish the causal link which is vital in determining any dispute in an Independent and impartial manner.
HC: I didn’t say Mutumwa was corrupt.
I said that there were public funds that were doled out which amounted to looting.
You are misinterpreting what I said.
The video has nothing to do with Mutumwa being corrupt, it was meant to illustrate how public funds were looted way before sanctions.

Hopewell denies what he said before and claims the video that he intentionally and constructively shared to demonstrate the origins of Mnangagwa’s corruption had nothing to with Mawere being party to the looting of public funds.

TM: Thank you for clarifying and I am intrigued by your response.
You have asserted as true and fact that Mawere was Mnangagwa front and this aspect is not
evident in the video, suggesting that evidence exists that the alleged fronting you are talking
about, is supported by concrete evidence which is required in any bona fide process, seeking to hold people accountable for their conduct or misconduct. I would be grateful if you can identify in precise terms what Mawere front for Mnangagwa.

Mr. Chin’ono on SABC repeating the narrative of corruption as the cause of the Zim crisis.

Advocate Jack Matiza who was incensed by Mr. Chin’ono’s utterances remarked asked: “How can he be held responsible and accountable for social media post that damage another person reputation? My take is Hopewell is also guilty of selective amnesia he is accusing Ramaphosa of when it comes to sanctions, by stating that Mutumwa Mawere was an front of ED without providing any proof to that. Our self acclaimed award winning journalist and human right defender…ought to know that he who alleges must prove, is he not using or abusing social media or public media platforms to make unfounded statements without allowing the accused an opportunity to air their side of the story is itself an abuse of that person’s basic human rights?
To which Mr. Mawere responded as follows: “What if there exists no shared understanding on what are the obligations and rights of citizenship? What Hopewell could be saying is that information that he may possess is true and fact unless proved otherwise because he holds a privileged position in society as a journalist. In this case, affinity politics would compel him to conclude that because I shared the same platform with the current President of Zimbabwe this reality confirms a generally corrupt relationship. You can imagine what the true import of state capture and the legal consequences arising for its existence.”
Advocate Matiza by stating as follows: “There is certainly need to actively contribute to development of such shared understanding and common standards.”
Mr. Mawere commended as follows: “If asked to explain why the conversation is intriguing, what would be your response?

Mr Chin’ono genuinely believes that CORRUPTION is the elephant in the room.

He hold the view that he occupies a special and exceptional position in relation to the affairs of Zimbabwe.

He has a view on the 1996 video.”

When asked by Mr. Mawere, what identified questions arise from the hypocrisy inherent in Mr. Chin’ono’s open attack against Mawere and when confronted by Mr. Manikai, he quickly denied what he had stated as true and fact, Advocate Matiza responded as follows:

1. Abuse of the profession of journalism by an acclaimed journalist who has no respect for the truth in his narratives.

2.How should one define a human rights defender especially having exposed Mr. Chin’ono’s embarrassing performance by first alleging that Mnangagwa was using Mawere as a front only to backtrack and deny his own bold assertions.


3.In the face of hypocrites masquerading as award-winning journalists, what should be the best response to deal with divisive characters who have captured the profession and are using it as a weapon to advance their ulterior motives?

4. Section 2 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe imposes a binding obligation on every person to ensure that the rule of law is promoted, protected and upheld and in this case, what should be done by ordinary citizens to ensure that people like Mr. Chin’ono are accountable for their conduct which is inimical to the rule of law?

5. Does a person like Mr. Chin’ono know that he is also subject to the constitution and possesses no title or authority to maliciously defame other people. How best can he be held accountable for his reckless and dangerous assertions he makes under the cover that he is a journalist par excellence?

6. Does his conduct based on Mpasiri’s excellent interrogation not fall within conduct that is inconsistent with the constitution of Zimbabwe?

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Please take notice of this announcement by ZIMRA

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