JAILED former Zengeza West legislator Job Sikhala has set up a nationwide movement to challenge President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s governance that has seen a surge in the repression of civil liberties, civic spaces and arrest of opposition members.
In a letter written behind the walls of Chikurubi, Sikhala who has been in pretrial detention for almost two years appointed veteran trade union leader Obert Masaraure national organiser of his mobilisation campaign.
Mnangagwa’s ascension to power has since been dominated by arbitrary arrest, and heavy clampdown on opposition movements and civil society organisations.
“My dearest Zimbabweans, I Job Sikhala, a political prisoner incarcerated in Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison by the regime in Zimbabwe, do hereby announce the mandate granted to the following persons to organise, mobilise and set up regional, township and street, ‘Job Sikhala Solidarity Chapters’ throughout the state of Zimbabwe,” read the letter.
“Obert Masaraure- National Solidarity Organiser. Veteran Trade Union Leader. President of the Amalgamated Rural Teacher’s Union of Zimbabwe. His mandate will be to carry out the aforesaid roles. Since the day of my arrest on the 14th of June 2022, I did not become a political orphan as anticipated.”
Sikhala expressed gratitude to Masaraure and Zimbabweans at large saying: “He, together with the masses, of our people adopted me from the dumpsite. Together with the masses of our people, they gave me the greatest gift of love-together with many others, he was humiliated and suffered in my name.
“He, like many, is the unsung hero of solidarity. He is now mandated to take the solidarity gospel to all the 10 provinces of our nation, to each and every village, street, township, growth point, town and city.”
The incarcerated opposition figure called on Zimbabweans to refrain from “dabbling in dubious politics”.
“To all those who have been blackmailed, scorned, humiliated, fought and dissuaded from exercising your free will solidarity to me, this is the time to organise yourselves without fear.
“You are not on the wrong side of history. Do not join the road of those on the wrong side of history. Do not dabble in dubious politics.”
Responding to the appointment, Masaraure said the task was daunting but expressed optimism over the number of people who have already volunteered.
“The task is bigger than my small shoulders but I am confident that if all progressive citizens pull together we can secure the release of our Zimbabwean Mandela,” said Masaraure on X.
“We have made inroads in the first 24 hours of appointment. We are impressed with the number of volunteers who have joined the fight.”