ZENGEZA West Member of Parliament Job Sikhala celebrated his 48th birthday on Friday.
INTERVIEW BY MOSES MATENGA
The politician was recently arrested and charged with inciting violence ahead of the abortive July 31 protests. He is out on bail and the MDC Alliance vice chairperson has insisted the country was ripe for a revolution. He speaks to NewsDay senior reporter Moses Matenga (ND) on his political career and other issues.
ND: What is your view of the political situation in Zimbabwe and what you prescribe as a possible solution?
JS: Zimbabwe has never been at crossroads the same way it is today. The State is totally under the leadership of hopeless people who depend on abuse of our security services to continue subduing the will of the people.
The people currently running State affairs are hopeless, looters and bloodthirsty. In a normal situation, they should not be allowed to be in power a second longer. Corruption has become Lord Mormon by these atheists.
Unprecedented deterioration of the economy, total collapse of the education system through failure to solve the teachers’ grievances, escalating human rights abuses through torture, abductions, and throttling of the democratic space are serious issues which cannot be allowed in the 21st century.
We owe this country to ourselves and we are the only ones who should claim our country back from these clueless leaders. The solution is on the citizens operating beyond party politics to reclaim their country. The destiny is owned by citizens and these are things I ponder over during this day of my birthday on October 30.
ND: Of the chaos in the opposition camp, as one of the leaders, do you think you are doing enough to deal with the situation?
JS: There is no chaos in the people of Zimbabwe. They know what they want. They want their freedom and happiness. They are the owners of the struggle. Zimbabwe belongs to all of us. When individuals squabble, citizens remain focused. We generated July 31 and shook the world when people were diverted to non-events. Mnangagwa creates a crisis for you to defocus the people. They all know that. They will never pander to Mnangagwa’s diversionary tactics. Zimbabweans are cleverer than that. Opposition to Mnangagwa’s dictatorship has rather grown bigger. His end is nigh and he knows it.
ND: Recently you advised the party leadership against depending on popularity alone and saying there was need for action, can you elaborate?
JS: Power is begotten through commitment, risk taking and forthrightness. We need to increase our levels of tenacity and determination. Exactly, what several liberation war heroes did. Throwing caution to the wind and bringing the people’s struggle to the fore. This becomes the foundation of the people’s strategies and planning built around the political doctrine of tenacity.
ND: There is speculation that you have warmed to Khupe’s MDC-T. This has been confirmed by the MDC-T. What’s your comment?
JS: If you are following what Khalipani Phugeni (MDC-T national spokesperson) said, then you are failing to read his intentions. He was setting me up for recall by claiming an individual in a struggle. Plus, I really don’t know that man. He thinks I care about being recalled. The power is theirs. They are free to use it as and when they want.
I will not lose an iota of sleep. His statement was widely provocative, immature and grandstanding. I don’t want to play to his cheap games. I am beyond that. The faith the people of Zimbabwe have in me should not be put to waste by concentrating on the Phugenis of this world.
Our people look forward to some of us to continue driving the fight against Mnangagwa and his dictatorship, not these sideshows. I think it’s taking me and the people of Zimbabwe for granted. I am not a hater. I smile to everyone, but don’t spite my smile with false claims as it is in my nature.
I remain the vice-chairman of the MDC Alliance and the spokesperson of the broad citizens’ movement, the 31st of July Movement. What I despise is the Zanu PF regime and everything related to it. I witnessed several splits in the MDC over years. They are no longer interesting adventures for me because they never advanced the goals of our liberation. Our energy is expended on petty fights and in the same vein, destroys the foundation of our liberty and freedom.
ND: What is the way forward for Zimbabwe?
JS: Zimbabwe has reached the tipping point. If you don’t see a looming implosion, you must be living in a different world. Zimbabwe is pregnant with a revolution and delivery and birth is imminent.
ND: There is a feeling that the opposition in Zimbabwe has become too soft and passive to tackle Zanu PF, and is allowing corruption, abductions and torture among other ills to continue without checks. What do you say?
JS: I don’t know what you mean about opposition. Are you talking about political organisations or what? Zimbabweans are at their powerful citadel for years. The problem we have is that we take our struggle to mean individual names or political organisations when our grievances and crisis cut across the political divide.
The core grievances of torture, abductions and human rights abuses cut across the political interests and organisations. Civil society organisations, political actors are all victims of the regime’s excesses. The voice of Zimbabweans is now one. They clamour for a society free of torture, abductions, and respect for the rule of law, constitutionalism and an independent Judiciary, these cut across civil society and citizens’ political inclinations. It’s a national chorus. No longer are Zimbabweans tolerant of the stupidity of political actors.
ND: There is growing concern of fissures in the MDC Alliance over strategy and power. What do you think?
JS: Fissures only exists in the figment of those who form such illusions and believe them. You cannot stop enemies of progress to wish bad on us, when truth on the ground speaks differently.
There is loyalty and faith as to the leadership elected at the Gweru congress. Nothing is further from the truth. You will never see fights in the people’s project. We differ respectfully on strategy, but move on as a family and one team.
ND: As a lawyer and MP, what do you make of the Patriotic Bill and also the concerns of judicial capture raised by judges?
JS: On the capture of the Judiciary, it is a scary contemplation. When it is brought to the fore by those within the Judiciary, it gives those who have been targets of State persecution complete loss of confidence in the Judiciary.
They start to wonder whether they will obtain a fair trial, hearing or else it will be a choreographed charade displayed as judicial dispensary. I carefully went through the affidavit by Justice Erica Ndewere on her current urgent application.
I felt dismayed by the submissions made therein on how some of us became targets for subverting the independence of individual judicial officers to dispense justice when we appeared before them. Confidence with what had shifted into the public domain about its independence has to be restored. Otherwise, the Judiciary is an important pillar in every democratic society.
ND: Your detention recently was over your involvement with the #31JulyMovement. What is the future of the movement?
JS: The 31st July Movement remains a citizen platform to air their grievances. It is a convergence platform of diverse characters representing different constituent groups. It is owned by citizens. It will continue to spearhead the cries of our people. It will continue calling for action to make the voices of our people from diverse constituencies head. It will spearhead more collective citizen actions in the future. It will not rest until the voice of the people is heard. Watch its rapid strategy in motion that is in store by the citizens.