PROMINENT opposition figure and Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Member of Parliament for Zengeza West, Job Sikhala will have to spend more time behind prison bars after a Harare magistrate yesterday dismissed an application for exception by his legal team.

A rabid critic of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s long-ruling Zanu PF, which has been in government since Zimbabwe’s attainment of independence from British rule in 1980, Sikhala is being represented by lawyers Jeremiah Bhamu and Harrison Nkomo.

The legislator was charged with obstructing the course of justice after he reportedly accused Zanu PF of causing the murder of opposition activist Moreblessing Ali in June.

Sikhala’s legal team Thursday faltered in their determined pursuit to convince magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa to give nod to their application for exception of their client, who has endured a torturous six-month time at Chikurubhi Maximum Security Prison, in Harare.

While challenging the case, the MP’s lawyers said the case did not disclose an offence.

In turn, Gofa says the charges were clear, and that the Zengeza West parliamentarian had raised triable issues.

Represented by Lancelot Mutsokoti, the state had applied for the matter to be remanded to January 5, 2023, for trial, but the lawyers opposed the postponement.

In their submissions, Sikhala’s lawyers said witnesses could not be allowed to abscond court at the expense of their client who is in custody.

This, Gofa dismissed, saying the trial for the CCC vice chairperson could not proceed without the witnesses.

The MP, who also faces a separate charge of inciting violence following violent skirmishes at Ali’s funeral, was later remanded to December 29, 30 this year and January 3 next year for a marathon trial.

The development comes a double-blow for the Sikhala family after the politician’s wife, Ellen, was Tuesday this week fined $30 000 for reckless driving before being slapped with a six-month ban from driving by Harare magistrate Evelyn Mashavakure.

In September this year, Ellen was also arrested while she on her way to visit her husband at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.

Court papers say she drove against oncoming traffic, which resulted in Mashavakure ordering the Zengeza West MP’s wife to pay $30 000 fine or be imprisoned for two months.

Ellen was also ordered to surrender her license within seven days.