Biti’s ally says Chamisa is incompetent

Nqobizitha Mlilo
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The Movement for Democratic Change leadership has been labelled incompetent or compromised by one of the party’s NEC members. This follows his movie-style arrest on Friday in Tynwald where a truckload of policemen armed with assault rifles and batons invaded Tynawald North in search of Sikhala. He was hiding at a house former Zanu-PF MP for Hurungwe East Sarah Mahoka used to reside.

Tendai Biti’s close ally Nqobizitha Mlilo, a Human Rights Lawyer and MDC NEC questioned MDC’s response to the arrest of Job Sikhala.

“Cdes, our movement’s response to the arrest of Job Sikhala will, at least for me, finally resolve two irreconcilable explanatory propositions I have held which explain the ineptitude of our movement. Either our leadership, at the top, is incompetent or compromised. One of the two.

The arrest of MDC Alliance deputy national chair Job Sikhala has opened a can of worms within the party with accusations flying around furiously on who exactly sold him out.

This comes as two party members who had been living with Sikhala; Stephen Chuma and Jim Kunaka openly accused each other of selling out the Zengeza West MP.

Some MDC Alliance bigwigs are said to be making a determined push to have the coalition’s firebrand deputy national chairperson, Job “Wiwa” Sikhala, expelled for his radical political activities and dogged opposition to Zanu-PF and its government.

So bad is the situation said to have become for Sikhala, that sources said that some of his comrades were even hoping that authorities would manage to fish him out from his hideout.

Sikhala was in hiding ever since authorities started cracking down on the leaders of last month’s failed mass demonstrations.

The sources said senior Alliance officials had recently discussed Sikhala’s jettisoning in the party’s standing committee (SC) WhatsApp group – of which the combative Zengeza West MP is a member.

Contacted for comment, Sikhala would neither deny nor confirm the move to expel him – saying if there were such moves he would respond to them after he had dealt with his current travails with authorities.

Sources told the Daily News that among the MDC Alliance bigwigs who allegedly wanted to see the back of Sikhala were secretary-general Chalton Hwende – who apparently features in the referenced SC WhatsApp group messages.

“Wiwa is in trouble with the powers that be in the party. This is why no one is making a real effort within to fight for him with regards to his current victimisation by the government. Some even want him to be arrested.

“Some of (Nelson) Chamisa’s closest allies such as Hwende are also accusing Sikhala of using confrontational means to force Mnangagwa into dialogue.

“They view his role in the July 31 movement as a sign that the likes of him and other hardliners in the party no longer see dialogue as an option, which the party is open to.

“Sikhala is aware of the moves, but he maintains that the July 31 movement is a people’s initiative and above political parties as it even has the support of some Zanu-PF bigwigs,” one of the sources told the Daily News.

Another source said Sikhala was being viewed as a threat to Chamisa because of his audacious call for the removal of Mnangagwa and his government from power via mass protests.

“The feeling among many is that Chamisa is afraid to lead from the front, and his close lieutenants are aware of hard questions that have once again been asked of him regarding the July 31 protests.

“The more Sikhala and the likes of Tendai Biti continue to take an aggressive approach against Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF, the more question marks on Chamisa’s leadership – hence their push for Sikhala’s expulsion,” another source told the Daily News.

This is not the first time that Sikhala has crossed swords with some MDC Alliance bigwigs.

Two months ago, Chamisa barred Sikhala and some of his other most loyal associates – including his vice presidents Tendai Biti and Lynette Karenyi-Kore – from speaking to the media.

Then, the gag order came after Biti and Sikhala had featured prominently in the independent press, especially the Daily News – at a time that Chamisa was looking increasingly out of his depth in terms of giving direction to the embattled Alliance in its fight with Thokozani Khupe’s group.

At the time, Hwende said the gag order was consistent with the MDC Alliance’s constitution.

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