BY BLESSED MHLANGA/OBEY MANAYITI
THE opposition MDC yesterday disowned statements by its deputy national chairperson Job Sikhala that the party would overthrow President Emmerson Mnangagwa before the 2023 general elections, insisting the St Mary’s MP was expressing his own opinion.
Sikhala told a rally in Bikita East at the weekend that the opposition party would “overthrow him (Mnangagwa) before 2023 and that is not a joke”.
The utterances have drawn fire, with police hunting for him to face treason charges, while Zanu PF threatened war on the opposition and promising to unleash State security agents to mercilessly crush dissent.
“The MDC notes with deep worry and concern that Hon Job Sikhala’s statements made during a rally in Bikita East over the weekend have caused uproar and the party wishes to clarify its position regarding the same,” party deputy national spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said.
“It is the party’s view that Hon Sikhala’s views as expressed at the rally and widely quoted in the Press were his own personal opinions, which we believe have been misconstrued and misinterpreted.”
Added Tamborinyoka: “For the record, the MDC believes in constitutional, peaceful, democratic, non-violent and legal means of resolving the national crisis. We have never been perpetrators of illegality and violence. If anything, we have always been the victims.
“The MDC wishes to state unequivocally that it has always submitted itself to the cardinal values of legality, constitutionalism and democracy. Any attempt to portray the MDC in any other way is disingenuous and unfortunate.”
Party leader Nelson Chamisa told NewsDay that the MDC was “not in agreement” with Sikhala.
But Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo said the MDC had declared war.
He said the utterances were enough proof that the opposition was bracing for war and warned that State security agents would be used to deal with the opposition.
“We are a sovereign nation whose security sector will not brook such utter contempt of our people’s dignity. The MDC party and its leadership must stand warned that should
they pursue such a reckless adventure, the consequences will be dire,” Khaya Moyo said.
Sikhala, who is a lawyer by profession, told NewsDay that he had been summoned by the police Law and Order section and would present himself at 9am today.
“I have been summoned by a Detective Inspector Chibaya of the Law and Order tomorrow, where I will go with my lawyers. I am, however, worried and shocked over the excitable elements jumping into the bandwagon to lump treason, banditry, insurgency and coup plotting on my part over political banter of a statement I made in Bikita,” Sikhala said.
“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.
“Let it be clear that the MDC, nor anyone associated with it, will ever engage in any unconstitutional way of assuming the governance of our country. If anything, the MDC is a party of constitutionalism and legality.”
Yesterday morning, the Information ministry issued a statement saying government would respond by unleashing its security forces to put the main opposition MDC into its place.
“The status of a peaceful country will be maintained by ensuring those that threaten the democracy and the liberal values adopted by the new dispensation are tried and, if convicted, removed from society and put in places where they do not pose a threat to the rest of the civilised society,” Information permanent secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana said.
He said the statements by the MDC could be a deliberate ploy to provoke Mnangagwa’s government and invite international condemnation of the Zanu PF-led regime.