INCARCERATED opposition politician Job Sikhala has distanced himself from claims by Citizens’ Coalition for Change self-styled secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu that he is negotiating with the state to secure the release of the former St Mary’s legislator.
Sikhala’s position was announced when the outspoken opposition politician appeared at the Harare magistrates’ court on 9 November, during continuation of his trial. Sikhala’s spokesperson, Freddy Masarirevu, told The NewsHawks that the political prisoner did not sanction any negotiations and he only wants justice in his case to prevail.
“Sikhala has not sanctioned any form of political negotiations, as far as I know. He only wants justice to be done,” said Masarirevu.
“I personally do not know Tshabangu and I doubt if Honorable Sikhala does. Whilst we appreciate efforts by general Zimbabweans to assist in the release of Honourable Sikhala, we do not support opportunists who would want to use his name for political gains.”
Sikhala also had a private conversation with Zimbabwe National Students Union activists Comfort Mpofu and Lionel Madamombe in court, during which he told them that he is not cutting any deals with the state.
“Job Sikhala said he will never try to negotiate for his release, especially if the negotiations involve Zanu PF stakeholders, so Tshabangu must stop tarnishing his name by saying that he is negotiating with the state for Sikhala’s release,” Mpofu told The NewsHawks.
“Job Sikhala refuses to let his name be tarnished by people who are treacherous and who want to ruin the democracy system of Zimbabwe. Let them be warned and let Tshabangu be warned not to use our heroes’ names in vain.”
This comes after the self-proclaimed CCC interim secretary-general, Tshabangu, told local radio station ZiFM Stereo last week that he was negotiating with the state for Sikhala’s release.
“Job Sikhala is a political prisoner. He requires a political solution, I am negotiating his release with the state and I will be sending a delegation to negotiate with the state authorities. In the process I will be in a meeting with Honourable Ziyambi Ziyambi, the minister of Justice and Obert Mpofu the secretary-general of Zanu PF,” claimed Tshabangu during the interview.
“He is in prison because of these criminals around the president [Nelson Chamisa] who have thrown him under the bus because they believe that Sikhala is a threat to president Nelson Chamisa, so he belongs where he is.”
Sikhala has been remanded in custody at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison for 513 days without bail.
His trial is scheduled to resume at the Harare magistrates’ court on 13 November. Sikhala’s continued detention has resulted in the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) issuing a landmark directive that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government must immediately release the opposition politician.
Prior to the reports that Sikhala’s health had reportedly deteriorated. Sikhala’s spokesperson, Masarirevu, also told The NewsHawks that Sikhala has received medical treatment and was recovering from Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.
“As you may be aware, Honourable Sikhala has not been well for some time. He got better upon receiving medical treatment after a huge scare in the past weeks. He is not 100% healthy as his full recovery is affected by the living conditions at Chikurubi,” said Masarirevu.
“Honourable Sikhala and the Sikhala family appreciate everyone who has contributed to his welfare and that of the family.” Sikhala seemed strong, healthy and jovial in court as he chatted with colleagues. He even gave his salutations to everyone who came to court in solidarity.
“Thank you all for coming,” said Sikhala.