BY EVERSON MUSHAVA
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has allegedly deployed several teams of intelligence officers to hunt down MDC Alliance deputy national chairman Job Sikhala, who has gone into hiding ahead of planned public demonstrations on July 31, NewsDay has learnt.
The teams have made several visits to Sikhala’s Chitungwiza home, but failed to locate him.
Sikhala allegedly went into hiding soon after the arrest of July 31 protests organiser and opposition Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume as well as journalist Hopewell Chin’ono for allegedly inciting violence ahead of the protests.
Chin’ono and Ngarivhume are languishing in remand prison after they were denied bail following their arrest on Monday last week.
Sikhala was one of the people Mnangagwa’s administration had targeted to arrest, together with former Zanu PF youth leader Godfrey Tsenengamu in a desperate bid to block the protests.
NewsDay is reliably informed that teams of officers from the CIO, travelling in commuter omnibuses, have been deployed to hunt down Sikhala.
Well-placed sources in the security establishment said they had been tasked to find him at all costs, preferably before Chin’ono and Ngarivhume are granted bail, most likely after July 31.
Sikhala’s mobile phone was yesterday not reachable, but Tsenengamu admitted his home had been frequented by members of the CIO, whom he accused of trying to plant weapons at his home in a bid to get him arrested and charged with treason.
“I know all their plots,” Tsenengamu said. “They have been to my home several times looking for me. I know all their plots to arrest me.”
Tsenengamu, who now leads a pressure group, Front for Economic Emancipation in Zimbabwe, backs the July 31 protests.
Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe was not picking calls yesterday, but Zanu PF spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa fumed over the protests, advising Zanu PF supporters to fight back.
Chinamasa accused the MDC Alliance of plotting to destabilise government, lashing out at US ambassador to Zimbabwe, Brian Nichols for allegedly backing the protests.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Republic Police yesterday released a list of MDC Alliance officials and activists whom it claimed it wanted to interview in connection with the protests.
The police listed Sikhala, Makomborero Haruziviishe, Godfrey Kurauone, Gift Ostallos Siziba, Promise Mkwananzi, Denford Ngadziore, Allan Moyo, Obey Sithole, Obert Masaraure, Jim Kunaka, Stephen Chuma and Robson Chere.
Tsenengamu was also listed together with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions leader Peter Mutasa.