FIREBRAND MDC Alliance deputy national chairperson, Job “Wiwa” Sikhala, says the struggle for a just and better Zimbabwe for all will never be derailed by the alleged persecution of individuals like him by the State.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily News On Sunday yesterday, the larger-than-life Zengeza West legislator also vowed that anyone who allegedly played a role in his dramatic arrest by authorities last month would be brought to book.
All this comes as the infighting within the country’s opposition forces has reached breaking point, with their leaders consumed by the mindless brawling.
It also comes after Sikhala was released from Chikurubi Maximum Prison on bail last week, following his arrest last month in Tynwald North – a western suburb of Harare.
Speaking to the Daily News On Sunday in an exclusive interview yesterday – the daring lawyer-cum-politician warned the “snitches” who allegedly sold him out to the authorities that they would be punished.
“Whether sold or not, it was God’s will. But if there is anyone who did it, they must know that it will not go unpunished.
“I don’t put much currency on personal relationships because the struggle is bigger than personal relationships. The struggle is for the people of Zimbabwe, not individuals.
“The fight for a just society is a calling. It cannot be halted because of persecution. An illusionary regime thinks that it can silence individuals through persecution” Sikhala told the Daily News On Sunday.
The irrepressible MP was nabbed by police in August, having been in hiding for nearly a month after authorities went on the hunt for some of the leaders of the foiled July 31 anti-government mass protests.
Upon his arrest, police claimed that he had been found hiding in a ceiling at a house in Tynwald North – claims which Sikhala refuted, saying he had a huge frame which made it impossible to hide there.
His arrest also sent tongues wagging at the time within opposition ranks, where accusations flew around furiously as to how he ended up being nabbed by authorities.
MDC Alliance youth spokesperson Stephen “Sarkozy” Chuma and former Zanu-PF youth leader Jim Kunaka were among those who pointed fingers at each other over the arrest.
Chuma – who is seen as a “disciple” of Sikhala – denied the accusations that he had sold out his mentor, instead pointing fingers at Kunaka.
“Kunaka had a friend who is a member of the CID (Criminal Investigations Department) who was coming to our hiding place regularly, bringing him food. One day we left the house in the morning with other comrades.
“When we left, I received a call from Kunaka telling me that they had brought me a phone after I had lost mine, and that I needed to rush back to the hiding place within 30 minutes or he would take it back to the shop.
“Unfortunately, we had no car, but we then heard a few moments later that Wiwa had been arrested,” Chuma told our sister publication, the Daily News, when the allegations were flying around.
“Jim was not there at the hiding place when the arrest was made, yet he is not being implicated. The same person who is accusing me is the one who used to bring his CID friends, about three times,” he added.
On his part, Kunaka said he was convinced that Chuma had snitched on Sikhala after the combative Zengeza West legislator allegedly showed him messages that he got from some sources before he was arrested.
“Before we came to the Tynwald house, Sikhala told us that one of us was selling out without mentioning names. But I pressured him to say who it was.
“He pointed at Sarkozy (Chuma), who then said there were people who wanted to divide us. Sikhala said nothing more, probably thinking that he had changed.
“But then on Wednesday, he (Sikhala) came to our room and told us that there was a security threat and that he had messages from his sources that Sarkozy was still selling out,” Kunaka also told the Daily News then.
Kunaka – a former leader of the notorious and now defunct Chipangano terror group – also said he had left the Tynwald North house after hearing that his wife was unwell.
“I left after I consulted Sikhala and … I then called Sarkozy to go and collect a phone that I had taken from my shop and told him he would pay later because he had lost his.
“I then got a message from some of the guys who were with Sarkozy that Sikhala had been arrested,” he said further.
Sikhala’s arrest happened at a time that the Daily News had reported that some MDC Alliance bigwigs were pushing to have him expelled from the coalition for his radical political activities and dogged opposition to Zanu-PF and its government.
So bad was the situation said to have become for Sikhala, that it was claimed some of his comrades were even hoping that authorities would manage to fish him out from his hideout.
Yesterday, Sikhala said he was not moved by all these alleged machinations, including having him expelled from the Alliance.
“People are free to suggest whatever they want. If there is anyone who wants me expelled they are free to move the motion and see where it will take them.
“Currently, my focus is on the freedom of our people and Zimbabwe at large. I don’t want to be diverted from the cause of our people. Freedom is coming,” Sikhala told the Daily News On Sunday further.
This comes as MDC Alliance leadership has been accused of calling for protests but failing to lead from the front – like what the late MDC founding father Morgan Tsvangirai used to do, including when he participated in the ‘Save Zimbabwe’ march in Harare in 2007.
Then, Tsvangirai and his colleagues such as Tendai Biti, Arthur Mutambara, Grace Kwinjeh, Sekai Holland and Lovemore Madhuku were bludgeoned by heavily-armed police during brutal attacks which saw a shoe cobbler, Gift Tandare, being shot dead.
However, Sikhala defended MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa yesterday for not leading from the front during recent protests.
“What else would you expect from a frightened regime that mobilises all the mighty of the entire security services against unarmed civilians?
“When they brace for murder, you duck them and leave them exposed. Like I indicated earlier, the struggle of today uses sophisticated brain power rather than the primitive methods of violence and terror which are the hallmarks of this regime.
“When they expect to shoot leaders to destroy resistance against its tyranny they find those leaders more advanced in handling the situation at hand,” Sikhala told the Daily News On Sunday.
The legislator is currently facing charges of inciting public violence after he joined the organisers of the foiled July 31 demos in calling for protests against the government.
Source – dailynews