By Fungi Kwaramba
FRESH from being acquitted on treason charges, firebrand MDC deputy national chairman Job Sikhala has warned President Emmerson Mnangagwa to prepare for major civil unrest, unless he halts Zimbabwe’s worsening national rot.
This comes as the MDC is due to hold a briefing in Harare today — amid growing pressure from its restless members for the party to hold fresh mass protests against the government, after the recent stalling in momentum of the much-anticipated talks between Mnangagwa and opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.
Yesterday, Sikhala — who claimed that the government had unsuccessfully tried to silence him several times — said he would “leave no stone unturned to put pressure” on Mnangagwa and the government to act on the growing hardships being felt by Zimbabweans.
“You know this regime has been abusing, tormenting and persecuting me since time immemorial.
“Let them be warned now that enough is enough. Don’t push me to the corner. I am also a human being.
“And when you hear me saying this, it means that I am now in a very dangerous mood,” Sikhala said.
“Frankly, enough is enough. I have been arrested 64 times and have been acquitted of all the stupid and manufactured charges.
“You can’t continue bashing a man and still expect him to continue folding his arms. This is a dangerous game that they are playing.
“An elephant was killed by an ant. I am not going to leave any stone unturned to get redress on the abuse we have been subjected to by these evil men and women,” Sikhala added.
This comes after the combative Zengeza West legislator was arrested in October last year on charges of subverting a constitutionally-elected government, after he told an MDC rally in Bikita East that he would work to overthrow Mnangagwa’s administration before the next elections that are due in 2023.
On February 3 this year, he filed for an application for an exception to the charges, arguing that the utterances that he had made at the political rally at Mandadzaka Business Centre did not constitute a crime.
Last Friday, Judge Garainesu Mawadze agreed with him and acquitted Sikhala after he upheld the burly politician’s application for exception to the accusations that he was facing.
Yesterday, Sikhala said it was disconcerting that Mnangagwa was “refusing dialogue” at a time that the country was experiencing huge challenges — including its worst economic crisis in a decade.
“It is ill-advised for Zanu PF to spurn the olive branch being extended by our president (Chamisa) on the need for dialogue. It’s in Zanu PF’s interest to entertain such a call.
“They will regret this … It is stupid of them to think that we as an organisation want to dialogue ourselves into power.
“It has never happened anywhere in the history of mankind that a political party dialogues itself to power,” Sikhala said.
“It is the genuine wish and belief of the people’s president (Chamisa) to bring sanity to our nation. If they don’t want … Zimbabweans will sort out their nation,” he added.
This week, Chamisa said he would approach Sadc and the African Union (AU) in a bid to compel the government to accept former South African President Thabo Mbeki as a mediator in the country’s political deadlock.
This was after the government appeared to have vetoed Mbeki’s mediation efforts by insisting that any dialogue between Mnangagwa and him should happen within the framework of the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad).
Chamisa also warned that Mnangagwa’s delay in resolving the country’s worsening political and economic crises through direct talks with him was now likely to result in rolling mass protests that could see the president and Zanu PF being humiliated.
“My message for harmony has no takers, but that does not distract us from a peaceful struggle. It was done before in other nations.
“We need peaceful change. The country needs real change. You can’t expect things to be normal when people are hungry, but sadly it is the perpetrators who are being arrogant by refusing dialogue.
“This has always been the case from the days of … other dictators. It is always the wrongdoers who are the last ones to see the light,” Chamisa said.
“My message to Zimbabweans is ‘get ready’. We must work together as Zimbabweans. We want our country back,” he added.
Sikhala picked up this message yesterday and warned that the political stalemate in the country would now be broken by mass demonstrations in which he would personally play a leading role.
“My history since time immemorial was always about fighting evil from the front. Massaging evil is not part of my DNA.
“The current situation in the country is both untenable and unacceptable. Our country needs to be free and now is the time.
“Anyone who thinks that the current oppression will not fall should wake up before it is too late. This evil will fall. The liberty of our people is nigh,” the defiant Sikhala said further.
As tensions in the country continue to rise, more and more MDC officials have been calling for a radical approach to end Zimbabwe’s crises.
Recently, MDC secretary for education Fadzai Mahere also warned Mnangagwa that he should expect to be deposed before the next elections.
“We are going to take the fight to the doorstep of @edmnangagwa. We’re going to overthrow him before 2023. That’s not a joke,” Mahere wrote on Twitter.
However, Zanu PF chief whip in parliament Pupurai Togarepi fired back saying that any attempt to dethrone Mnangagwa would be resisted fiercely.
“Those threatening to unseat an elected president should know that … they will have themselves to blame.
“For starters, with your dying amorphous party, how do you expect to do that,” Togarepi said on twitter.
Meanwhile, Chamisa is expected to announce the dates of a series of demonstrations throughout the country, which sources said yesterday were aimed at compelling Mnangagwa to come to the negotiating table.