THE trial of MDC deputy chairperson and Zengeza West legislator, Job Sikhala, who is facing a subversion charge, went off to a false start yesterday after the presiding judge was away on official business, while some of the witnesses were not available.

Sikhala is out on $5 000 bail.

High Court judge, Justice Garainesu Mawadze, was away on official duties and Justice Neville Wamambo, briefly presided over the postponement of trial to February 3, awaiting Justice Mawadze’s return.

Seven witnesses are going to testify against Sikhala, but only four were present yesterday.

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Both the State, represented by Tawanda Zvekare and Sikhala’s lawyer, Jeremiah Bhamu consented to the postponement. Bhamu indicated that Beatrice Mtetwa will take over the case next week.

In another case, Information deputy minister, Energy Mutodi, who is being sued by former Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi, and former Minister of Health and Child Care David Parirenyatwa, over a Facebook post allegedly defaming the two ex-ministers, is now set to be heard at the High Court before Justice Helena Charewa on Thursday.

Sekeramayi and Parirenyatwa jointly filed a defamation lawsuit against the musician-cum-politician sometime in October 2017 claiming $40 000 accusing Mutodi of having linked them on his Facebook post to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s alleged poisoning in August 2017.