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Zimbabwe's outspoken opposition lawmaker freed on bail

Job Sikhala, vice chairman of the main opposition party Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC-Alliance), was arrested on 21 August and charged with inciting the public to commit violence.

MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa with Job Sikhala in court. Picture: Twitter/@ZimLive

HARARE – A Zimbabwean court on Tuesday freed on bail an outspoken opposition leader and lawmaker a month after he was arrested for promoting anti-government protests.

Job Sikhala, vice chairman of the main opposition party Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC-Alliance), was arrested on 21 August and charged with inciting the public to commit violence.

His name had appeared on a police wanted list ahead of planned protests against corruption and the country's economic crisis.

He stands accused of posting videos on social media calling on the public to commit violence and revolt against Emmerson Mnangagwa's government.

Sikhala was released after posting bail of 50,000 Zimbabwe dollars ($590) and ordered to stop posting content online or in WhatsApp groups "with intention to commit public violence".

Sikhala was one of more than a dozen anti-government activists who went into hiding after police issued an alert seeking information leading to their arrest, ahead of the protests that had been planned for 31 July.

His arrest came after that of another opposition politician and government critic who called for demonstrations, Jacob Ngarivhume, and prominent journalist Hopewell Chin'ono, who tweeted in support of the protests.

The demonstrations were de-facto banned on the grounds of coronavirus restrictions.

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