…State accuses MDC of plotting coup
The treason charge against MDC national deputy chairperson and Zengeza West Member of Parliament (MP) Job Sikhala has put the state and defense teams on a collision path over interpretation of subverting a constitutionally elected government with the defense counsel led by top lawyer Beatrice Mthetwa arguing that President Mnangagwa is not the government and can be removed from power before 2023.
Sikhala appeared before the Masvingo High Court judge Justice Garainesu Mawadze early this week facing subversion charges where he threatened to take “the war and fight to President Mnangagwa’s doorstep and overthrow him before 2023 elections”.
The state prosecutors led by Tawanda Zvekare built their case of treason arguing that Sikhala and his party were plotting to topple the government by using violence and force but had to be schooled on the technicalities of the case in which Mthetwa pushed for the exception to trial arguing that the state had a weak case.
The case which was supposed to run for a week was postponed to February 14 pending determination by the court on whether the case should go for a full trial or be thrown out.
The state went to town arguing that the matter should go for a full trial saying that they have video evidence and witnesses to the effect that Sikhala indeed committed treason.
Mthetwa argued that Sikhala never threatened to overthrow the government but was specific saying it was President Mnangagwa he wanted to see gone before 2023.
“Mnangagwa is not the government of Zimbabwe. Sikhala's statement doesn't refer to the government as the government does not comprise of one person.
“Sikhala said we are going to overthrow 'him' meaning one person. If he had said we are going to overthrow 'it', the State would then have had a better case.
"Saying President Mnangagwa will go before 2023 is not criminal because the constitution provides for legal ways in which a sitting President can be removed from office like through impeachment.
“The statement meant that Sikhala being a Member of Parliament, will take the war and fight to President Mnangagwa’s doorstep through mobilizing for an impeachment. There is nothing treasonous about that.
“President Mnangagwa can be removed from office before 2023 because the constitution sets out the process which can make that happen and that is what Sikhala meant,” said Mthetwa.
She gave reference to the removal of former president Robert Mugabe before the expiry of his term, a move which the High Court declared as legal.
Mthetwa said that the state must not be confused by the use of words ‘war’ and ‘violence’ because they do not necessarily mean violence.
She argued that there is nothing in Sikhala’s statement which points out that President Mnangagwa will go through unconstitutional means.
The State, however, argued that Sikhala’s utterances meant that they are going to use violence and force to usurp power from the government.
“President Mnangagwa is the government and if you threaten to remove him it means you have threatened to remove the government.
“He is addressed as the head of state which means everyone in government serves at his pleasure. If you cut off the head everything else falls.
“Sikhala meant that they are going to effect a coup on the government,” said State prosecutor Zvekare.