Chamisa’s MDC divided over Sikhala
On Monday, the MDC – through its deputy spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka – issued a statement distancing the country’s largest opposition party from Sikhala’s seemingly inflammatory remarks.
Senior MDC officials, including the party treasurer-general David Coltart also publicly chastised Sikhala for the statements he made in Bikita over the weekend.
Officials in the ruling Zanu-PF party and government had come out guns blazing, calling for the arrest of the motormouth legislator, who handed himself to the police yesterday and is likely to appear in court tomorrow.
Innocent Gonese, an MDC official and lawyer, twitted yesterday that Sikhala has since been charged with contravening section 22 (2)(a)iii of the Criminal Code and would face charges of subverting a constitutionally-elected government.
“Let us turn up in our numbers at Rotten Row (Magistrates Courts) to show solidarity to our stalwart and colleague,” he wrote.
At a rally to drum up support for the MDC ward by-election in Bikita-a fired up Sikhala said Mnangagwa will not last his five-year term and will be “overthrown” by 2023 when the nation holds its next election.
The MDC has refused to recognise the legitimacy of Mnangagwa saying the ruling party leader rigged the elections that were held on July 30 last year.
In an unusual move that exposes ructions within the opposition party, the MDC’s youth assembly has leapt to Sikhala’s defence, saying there is nothing wrong in the combative legislator’s utterances.
“The MDC Masvingo province youth assembly solidly stands, irrevocably and unconditionally in solidarity with deputy national chairperson Hon Job Sikhala. As Masvingo youth assembly, we not only strongly and totally associate ourselves with him,” said the MDC Masvingo province youth assembly in a short statement, which goes at variance with the official line.
The party’s national youth assembly through its spokesperson Stephen Chuma also backed Sikhala saying his sentiments resonate with the national feeling and warned any attempts to charge him will spark wildcat demonstrations.
“The bottom line is that people are sick and tired of the whole Zanu-PF system and henceforth its removal or ‘overthrow’ through constitutional means is long overdue. What Sikhala said is just a mirror reflection of the sentiments of the ordinary people in the country.
“Sikhala only amplified the people’s position that Zanu-PF and Emmerson Mnangagwa should be overthrown albeit through constitutional means if the country is to move forward.
“As an assembly we would like to warn Simon Khaya Moyo and his sinking Zanu-PF ship that any reckless overtures to decimate opposition figures like Sikhala on flimsy treason charges will be repelled by equal force. If anything, a Sikhala illegal arrest will be our own Sarajevo moment that the country desperately awaits,” said Chuma.
The party’s deputy organising secretary Happymore Chidziva also said he will stand with Sikhala.
“We will stand with our vice chairman and keep mobilising the mass for action as enshrined in the Constitution in section 59. Treason cases don’t arise here because ED is running Zimbabwe illegally after overthrowing Bob (former president Robert Mugabe),” said Chidziva.
Pro-MDC academics have also rapped the country’s main opposition for “abandoning” Sikhala when they do not recognise the present government.
Academic and researcher Pedzisai Ruhanya said the ruling party must not be angered by Sikhala’s sentiments because they removed Mugabe the same way.
“I have a constitutional right to disagree with you Tamborinyoka and your MDC party on Job Sikhala. Both you and your party are wrong on this one including the whole MDC leadership if it supports this tomfoolery. Don’t behave like Morrison Nyathi,” said Ruhanya referring to one of the country’s famous “traitors”
“The legitimate goal of any opposition party in the world is to democratically, constitutionally overthrow the sitting government in the shortest possible time. It isn’t a goal to be ashamed of or disowned. It mustn’t be criminalised. MDC if it wins power will also be overthrown lawfully,” he added.
Drawing parallels between what happened in November 2017, when the army sided with a faction in Zanu-PF to remove Mugabe and Sikhala’s “overthrow” statements, Ruhanya said the now ruling elite were not arrested when they were plotting against the fallen despot.
“An overthrow of a government is largely an act not an intention. Zanu-PF, its captured and partisan institutions should know this. What happened to Mugabe was not an intention it was an overthrow de facto. By the way Mugabe knew the intentions of the cabal but did not arrest. Job is innocent,” said Ruhanya.