JAILED Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) former Zengeza West legislator Job Sikhala has sensationally accused some members of his party of betrayal, by exhibiting double standards in calling for his release by day while encouraging his detention by night and persecuting those who have stood by him.
In an exclusive letter to The NewsHawks, Sikhala says he will remain resolute in his fight. He says he has been hardened by his unjustified incarceration.
He also singled out lawyer Harrison Nkomo, Bulawayo mayor David Coltart and Harare East legislator Rusty Markham for standing by his side during his incarceration.
Sikhala, who was arrested on June 14 last year for allegedly inciting violence while representing slain CCC Moreblessing Ali in Manyame, has had his countless bail applications thrown out by the courts.
In May, Sikhala was convicted, almost a year after his arrest, and slapped with a suspended six-month custodial sentence and a US$600 fine. Sikhala was however not released from custody, despite spending over 300 days in prison, with the state arguing he has outstanding cases.
Through his letter, Sikhala accused some of his associates of betraying him, but said he is prepared to pay the ultimate price, even if it means death.
“I write to all of you after my almost 16 months of incarceration in the Hitlerian concentration camp of Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison. I am under political persecution by the regime in Zimbabwe. I did not commit any crime. I am not a criminal, I will never be one and no one will create one out of me. I am a political prisoner, persecuted for being an opponent to the regime,” reads the letter.
“Prison, a place intended to be a punishment, became the most valuable college for me. It became the place I discovered and understand myself and many things. It is the place I was able to think, discover and reflect on many things including my relations with certain persons, who during daylight behave like angels, but are profound witches at night.
“Like Mangosuthu Gatsha Buthelezi, who portrayed Nelson Mandela as a friend and publicly called for his release, but behind the scenes condemned the Release Mandela Campaign as a gimmick and privately warned the apartheid military establishment that Mandela was the most dangerous threat to national security and national stability and that it would be irresponsible to let him out.”
Citing the example of former Rhodesia-Zimbabwe prime minister Reverend Abel Muzorewa, Sikhala said some of his friends have been working against his release from prison.
“Pretending to be holding an anointed sceptre, roaming around the four corners of Zimbabwe, from east to west, from the south to the north, he was publicly denouncing the incarceration of the nationalist leaders, but privately he was telling the Rhodesian kingpin, Ian Douglas Smith, not to dare release Joshua Nkomo, Robert Mugabe and other nationalist leaders as they were terrorists and a danger to national security,” he said.
“The character of someone is measured by facing up to a swelling and difficult situation. Let it be known that I am a man who will never ever break down even under the most trying circumstances. Martin Luther King Jnr taught me, ‘if a man hasn’t found something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live’.”
“Under the barrage of attack from your mortal enemies, never be surprised that when you look behind, you will realise that you are by yourself and those who attempt to stand in solidarity with you come under attack, blackmail and humiliation, from the angels of the daytime but profound witches of the night. Only true friends and strong characters remain steadfast with you, while opportunists melt like morning dew. That is the character of an insincere struggle.”
Sikhala said while his family has fallen on hard times since his incarceration, he has been receiving help from well-wishers and friends.
“I was stunned by the swift response of love after the visit by my children here in prison bidding me farewell back to school, in tears that I have not paid their school fees and that they were going back to school without supplementary needs. I warned them that tears are not good under whatever circumstances,” he said.
“Swiftly, my good lawyer Harrison Nkomo, despite having spent hundreds of hours representing me for free on the Moreblessing Ali cases, paid fees for my two daughters at boarding schools. Honourable David Coltart through the family trust paid Fidel’s fees.
“Honourable Rusty Markham, my new member of Parliament for my new domicile, Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison, came on board with some significant contributions to my other son’s school fees who is doing ‘A’ Level. Such love is not taken for granted. It is a mark that will live forever in my heart. I thank you, brothers. I also would like to thank all those who have helped my family during my difficult times.”
Sikhala said his jailing has seen the crumbling and subsequent shut down of his law practice in Chitungwiza. However, he said he will remain resolute, as he knows that his incarceration is premeditated.
“When I was thrown into Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison, some good soul, from the national intelligence systems, whispered to me that, it was long planned, that I must be thrown into prison for a long time to teach me a lesson of who wields power in Zimbabwe. I quickly notified myself that surviving prison calls for immense reserves of mental strength,” he said.
“I had to arm myself with those things that enhanced my inner stability and discarded everything that might weaken me.
“I became hardened. I started reading voraciously, books that sustained me and internalised where I read about the lives of others who were once in similar position with my new station in life, whose connective theme is the human struggle and triumph against insurmountable ordeals.”
He said the Zanu PF government has been exhibiting fear, as evidenced by its continuous incarceration of dissenting voices.
“Imprisonment, murder, poisoning, torturing and the use of terror and violence as instruments of political organisation by unpopular regimes, is the weakest and most unsophisticated weapons and methods used against political opponents.
“It depicts cowardice and desperation. When I was tipped last year in December, dear Zimbabweans and my worldwide friends, about the plot to assassinate me through poisoning, I did not linger. No one will grow horns.
“I only informed my family, my lawyers, selected political leaders and friendly embassies. I was and still prepared to suffer martyrdom for the sake of freedom of our oppressed masses. There are several men and women who walked the road of pain and scars collected as the ultimate prize of pursuing truth and justice. I am prepared to suffer for my principles.”