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Zimbabwe MP Job Sikhala released on bail over treason charges

Monday July 15 2019

Emmerson Mnangagwa

Zimbabwe President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa addresses a press conference at State House in Harare, on August 3, 2018. PHOTO | MARCO LONGARI | AFP 

ADISA VALENTINE
By ADISA VALENTINE
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HARARE,

Zimbabwean opposition lawmaker Job Sikhala was released on bail Monday after being charged last week with treason for allegedly saying his party would overthrow the government before the next election.

Kumbirai Mafunda, spokesman for Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, told AFP that Sikhala has been released on bail for RTGS $5,000, the equivalent of $600 (533 euros).

"The court also ordered him to surrender his passport and report once to the police," Mafunda said. "He returns to court on July 24 for routine remand."

Mr Sikhala, vice chairman of Movement for Democratic Change party, allegedly said in a speech at a MDC rally that "we are going to overthrow him (President Emmerson Mnangagwa) before 2023."

Some Zimbabweans hoped the ousting of long-time autocrat Robert Mugabe in 2017 would usher in a more tolerant political scene as Mnangagwa sought to attract foreign investment.

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But government critics have been frequently targeted by the police and security forces as the country's economy tips into crisis.

Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate hit 175 per cent in June, official data showed Monday, stoking fears of a return of the hyperinflation that wiped out savings a decade ago.