Job Sikhala

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Job Sikhala

Job Wiwa Sikhala is an outspoken politician and the current Vice Chairman of the Movement for Democratic Change. He is the Member of Parliament for Zengeza West having won the seat in the July 2018 elections.

In July 2019, Sikhala was arrested and charged with subversion for allegedly saying the MDC would overthrow Emmerson Mnangagwa's government before 2023. On 15 July he was released on $5,000 bail.

Background

Job Sikhala was born in Zimbabwe in 1972 and was once a member of parliament for the St Mary's constituency, in Chitungwiza which has been blighted by political violence. He is married and has a degree in history and economic history from the University of Zimbabwe.[1]

Family

Sikhala is married and has 9 children with his wife. He sired the 9 children in a space of ten years.[2]

Political Career

Student Activism

Sikhala started his political activism whilst he was still an undergraduate student at the University of Zimbabwe in the 1990s. He belongs to the most violent crop of students which included the likes of Learnmore Jongwe among others. He became popular among opposition supporters due to his violent nature. He also led demonstrations against University admin at the University of Zimbabwe.

Joining the MDC

Sikhala joined the Movement for Democratic Change at its formation in 1999. He managed to land a post in the national executive which included the likes of Morgan Tsvangirai, Gibson Sibanda, Tendai Biti, Learnmore Jongwe and Arthur Mutambara. During the 2000 parliamentary elections, Sikhala won a parliamentary seat against a ZANU PF candidate for St Mary's constituency.

When the MDC split in 2005, Sikhala went with the faction of the party led by then Secretary General Welshman Ncube. A few years later he broke away from Ncube’s party citing what he called dictatorial tendencies. He then formed his MDC-99, naming it after the year in which the once united MDC was formed.

It was during his tenure as the member of Parliament for St Mary's that he was involved in acts of violence ad sabotage when he was accused of torching a bus in Chitungwiza together with other rowdy youths.

Formation of MDC 99

After a fall of with the Welshman Ncube faction, Sikhala formed another political party which was named MDC 99. The party did not receive adequate support and suffered serious defeats in both parliamentary and presidential elections.

Rejoining MDC T

Sikhala and his colleague, Joubert Mudzumwe, rejoined MDC-T in 2014. The former St Mary’s MP said he would support Tsvangirai despite growing calls for the former prime minister to step down as party leader. Sikhala told a press conference at MDC-T headquarters in Harare that he decided to return to the mainstream MDC, which was in turmoil and leadership crisis, so as to complete the change they started in 1999.

Coup Plot Allegations, Arrest & Toture in 2014

Sikhala was in 2014 caught in the succession ZANU PF succession and factionalism saga. He was accused of being among a group of co-plotters planning the assassination of President Robert Mugabe. State Media reported that Sikhala was, in fact, working with the Mujuru camp led by Vice President Joice Mujuru and included other ZANU PF hardliners such as Rugare Gumbo, Didymus Mutasa and Nicholas Goche.[3]

In November 2014, Sikhala was arrested at Beitbridge Border on his way from South Africa. He was taken to Harare Central Police Station where he was quizzed on allegations of plotting to kill President Robert Mugabe. Soon after his release, Sikhala wrote on his Facebook page;

"I am just waking up now after my release from the hands of Robert Mugabe's evil securocrats who tormented me from yesterday in the morning to early hours of today trying to squeeze charges that I am plotting the tyrant's overthrow. I told them that it is not only my desire to see Mugabe gone but it is the wish shared by millions of Zimbabweans both locally and in the diaspora including the majority in his own party. I told them though it is the wish of us millions, I haven't yet started plotting his downfall. Asking for evidence about the plot, they produced an inaudible voice recorder which makes the Ari Ben Menashe one the best recordings in the world. You can hardly hear anything."[4]

Sikhala was represented by his lawyer who is also MDC's Secretary General Douglas Mwonzora. He was however released after the police failed to produce sufficient evidence against Sikhala.

Sikhala claimed that he was brutally assaulted by police officers interrogating him on Saturday 29 Nov 2014. Sikhala was as a result of the assault admitted to a hospital with his blood pressure said to have risen to dangerous levels. According to Morgan Muchawaya who was running Sikhala’s Facebook page:

“Our freedom fighter has been tortured today in the morning by security agents on the underground bunker at the Harare Central Police station. He was invited to report to the Law and Order yesterday late hours. “He was not in Harare as he was in his rural village, where he later made arrangements with his lawyer to report today in the morning. He then went to report this morning with his lawyer Alec Muchadehama.[5]

“His lawyer and some of us who accompanied him there, were refused to accompany him to the interrogation room. We were asked to stay outside for hours only to hear that the party had made contingent measures to take him to hospital. He is currently in hospital treated of torture pains.

His explanation is that there was no interrogation they did to him but accused him of having gone to Swaziland to meet some white German national who wanted to give him arms of war to wage a war against the government.

He also says that he was tortured being asked why he left MDC99 to regroup with Morgan Tsvangirai. They took all the possessions that were in his pocket. Sikhala says he never met any white person for some time now and that he was in Swaziland on holiday after he was invited by his brother in law,”[5]


Arrest On Treason Charges In 2019

On 7 July during a speech at a Rally in Masvingo, Sikhala said that his party would overthrow Emmerson Mnangagwa's government:

We are a connected leadership, that will give Zanu-PF headaches. And vaChibaya was not lying or joking, the war and the fight we're going to take to the doorsteps of Emmerson Mnangagwa. We are going to overthrow before 2023. That is not a joke.[6]

Following the publication of a story of the rally, Zimbabwe Police summoned Sikhala on 8 July and he was charged with Subversion.

In his defense, Sikhala said in an interview with a publication that he had not meant that he would overthrow the government but

What I meant was that we need to overthrow hunger, intimidation, abuse of traditional leaders, poverty and all vices associated with the current mismanagement of our state by the current government"[7]

Sikhala trial was moved to Masvingo apparently because he had committed the alleged offense in that city.

On 15 July 2019, Sikhala was remanded out of custody on ZWL $5,000 bail.


References

  1. , Job Sikhala, "BBC News", retrieved:28 Nov 2014"
  2. , Job Sikhala who impregnated his wife 9 times in 10 years gets arrested, "My Zimbabwe", published:27 Nov 2014,retrieved:28 Nov 2014"
  3. , Mujuru Backers Meet Job Sikhala, "Chronicle", published:20 Nov 2014,retrieved:28 Nov 2014"
  4. Job Sikhala, Job Sikhala, "Job Sikhala Facebook Page", published:28 Nov 2014,retrieved:28 Nov 2014"
  5. 5.0 5.1 , Job Sikhala brutally assaulted (Pictures), "Nehanda Radio", published:29 Nov 2014,retrieved:01 Dec 2014"
  6. WATCH: Job Sikhala Vows To Overthrow Mnangagwa Before 2023, Pindula News, Published:07 July 2019, Retrieved: 15 July 2019
  7. “What I Meant Is That We Need To Overthrow Hunger,” Job Sikhala, Pindula News, Published: 09 July 2019, Retrieved: 15 July 2019