‘Sikhala not a political detainee’

The Government has dismissed assertions that opposition politician Job Sikhala was a political prisoner, saying instead he was convicted in terms of the country’s laws for inciting violence and undermining the country’s peace and harmony.

In a statement last night, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Jenfan Muswere set the record straight, saying Mr Sikhala’s arrest was aboveboard according to the law of the land.

The Minister also highlighted that Mr Sikhala was not a political prisoner.

“Political crimes (and hence political prisoners) must be differentiated from the activities and behaviours of common criminals. Mr Sikhala was arrested and convicted in terms of the laws of the country,” he said.

Dr Muswere also said no one was above the law, and that law enforcement agents will not be deterred from enforcing the laws of the land because the perpetrator is a politician.

The Minister said the Government, in fact allowed the general citizenry to exercise their Constitutional rights, but when intervention is needed it would not hesitate.

“The State will not be hindered in its effort to allow the generality of its citizenry to enjoy all fundamental human rights ascribed to them by our Constitution by any individual or class of individuals through proliferation of hate speech and incitement to violence.

“Mr Sikhala was found guilty of inciting public violence by the courts and he is thus not a political prisoner,” he said.

The Minister said those who would be found on the wrong side of the law regardless of political affiliation would be held answerable.

“Those who commit crimes will definitely meet their day in court and the judiciary will adjudicate without any fear or favour,” said Minister Muswere.

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