Sikhala, the former legislator for St Mary’s constituency, remains adamant that he has seized control of the Mutambara-led Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
His former colleagues in the breakaway faction of the MDC have rubbished Sikhala’s claims of a coup. Mutambara has however not responded to questions submitted to him by The Zimbabwe Times to seek his comment on Sikhala’s claims.
Sikhala says he is on a mission to save the MDC from the control of Mutambara and his secretary general, Welshman Ncube, among others, whom he accuses of advancing “the enemy’s interests” referring to the interests of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party.
“We have taken this opportunity to announce our seizure and total control of the people’s party until our next extra-ordinary congress next year in April to shape our struggle against Mugabe’s dictatorship,” a tough-talking Sikhala told journalists on Friday afternoon. Sikhala was in the company of eight officials he claimed were provincial representatives of his new leadership.
“Our determination to see our people totally free spurs us to fight to the best of our ability against all forces of retrogression and Mugabe’s zombies and yoyos,” he said.
“At the moment, I have taken over. Mutambara only remains president (of the MDC) in the Herald and on ZBC.”
The Herald and ZBC are government’s major media outlets. Sikhala, who is on a suspension imposed by the party’s disciplinary committee, insists he deserves to be in charge of the MDC, which he says he helped to form in 1999.
He says he regrets having personally invited Ncube to become MDC secretary general, before the latter led a split in 2005 from the mainstream party led by founding leader, Morgan Tsvangirai. Tsvangirai is now the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe with Mutambara serving as one of his two deputies.
Sikhala claims Ncube’s role was to provide intellectual impetus to the MDC. After the split, Sikhala said he had watched helplessly while Ncube invited his old friend, Mutambara, from South Africa to come and assume leadership of the splinter group.
Asked why he had endorsed Mutambara when he assumed leadership of the party, Sikhala said he had been overwhelmed by Ncube’s influence in the party and feared becoming “the only shrill voice in the wilderness”.
“You have to understand that Welshman Ncube was very powerful and influential at the time,” he said, “He could influence everybody at that time.”
The outspoken politician said he started questioning Mutambara’s credibility to lead the party when the robotics professor, during his acceptance speech, claimed he admired people like the late Zanu-PF Bindura legislator, Border Gezi for his “revolutionary” stance on the land reform.
”I asked myself if this man (Mutambara) knew that some of these people committed atrocities against our people,” said Sikhala.
“I started to be worried but when you get into a marriage where one of the partners is unfaithful, you simply try not to make the public know about it until such a time when you say ‘no, your promiscuity has now become too much. I cannot afford to be married to a prostituting husband’.
“And that is what has happened. I cannot continuously be led by a prostituting husband.”
Sikhala described Thursday’s decision by his party’s national executive council to rubberstamp last month’s expulsion of three legislators from the party, as a nullity. The three, Abednico Bhebhe (Nkayi South), Njabuliso Mguni (Lupane East) and Norman Mpofu (Bulilima East), are being accused of undermining the party’s leadership.
Sikhala said further that the Speaker of Parliament, Lovemore Moyo, should refuse to be arm-twisted by “non-elected” politicians into ejecting the MPs from Parliament. Sikhala said the MDC national executive council was not representative enough to arrive at an agreement to dismiss the legislators.
He claims three quarters of the members were denied entry into the venue of the meeting by some Central Intelligence Organisation agents who got wind of their intention to pass a vote of no-confidence in the Mutambara leadership.
MDC-Mutambara spokesperson, Edwin Mushoriwa said claims of a coup by Sikhala were of no consequence as long as the purported takeover was carried out outside the party’s constitution. Sikhala also described the unity deal signed by Zanu-PF and the two MDCs as a sell-outs’ agreement.
“It is our clear belief that the 15 September 2008 agreement is a sell-out marriage solemnized in hell by Satan,” he said.
“This is the replica of the 1979 sell-outs’ agreement of Ian Douglas Smith, Abel Tendekai Muzorewa and Chief Chirau.”
He says he is far from rejoining the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC which he says has abandoned the values of its formation in 1999.
“Everybody who is eating with Mugabe is a puppet,” he said.