They want to jail me until 2023: Sikhala
ZENGEZA West MP Job Sikhala says there is a sinister political plot by the authorities to keep him in detention beyond the 2023 general elections, The NewsHawks can reveal.
Sikhala, who celebrated his 50th on Sunday while in pre-trial detention, told The NewsHawks that he has it on good authority that the state wants him to languish in jail beyond the polls slated for July or August 2023.
“We obtained information beforehand that they want to keep us (Sikhala and Chitungwiza North MP Godfrey Sithole) until the 2023 general elections. The purpose is very clear that they want to eliminate me from the national political equation for reasons best known to themselves,” said Sikhala.
Sikhala, charged with obstruction of justice and inciting violence, has applied for bail eight times at both the High and the magistrates’ courts, but has been denied this constitutional right. He says the 138-day-long pre-trial detention has not broken his spirit.
“Whatever they do will never defeat the endurance of my spirit to continue on the path of independence and freedom of our people. Zimbabwe, in its current state, has been placed in the same situation as the one in which Ian Smith placed this country before,” said Sikhala.
In a statement that he released as a birthday message from inside Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison, Sikhala said he is not the first person to spend birthdays in prison, citing the example of South Africa’s first democratic president, Nelson Mandela.
“What gives me utmost hapiness is that I am not the first nor will I be the last political prisoner to celebrate their birthdays under persecution from an evil dictatorship. History is awash with such personalities. Nelson Mandela spent 27 consecutive birthdays in prison; Dumiso Dabengwa 7; Lookout Masuku 7; Bakili Muluzu 10; Raila Odinga 10; and many other men and women of good standing,” wrote Sikhala.
Asked whether his sacrifice would bear fruit, he answered in the affirmative. He has been in detention since 14 June 2022, when he was arrested for allegedly inciting violence after convening a prayer meeting for his deceased client and opposition party member, Moreblessing Ali, who was gruesomly killed by a Zanu PF-linked man, Pius Jamba.
He hopes that his sacrifice will gradually bear fruit.
“When Nelson Mandela was condemned to life in prison after the Rivonia trial, no one knew whether his sacrifice would bear fruit, but he kept his faith in the cause. I have faith in the cause that I am suffering for, more than anything else,” said Sikhala.
Sikhala’s family could not celebrate his birthday. A cake brought by his wife was not allowed inside prison. Sikhala will appear in court for routine remand on 2 November while awaiting trial for incitement and obstruction on 15 and 17 November respectively.
He has been arrested more than 60 times on similar charges, and has never been convicted. He says God is witnessing the persecution.