MDC throws Sikhala under the bus, disowns gov overthrow threat

Outspoken opposition MDC MP and lawyer Job Sikhala

The opposition MDC led by advocate Nelson Chamisa has argued that the remarks which were made by Job Sikhala that the party was planning to overthrow president Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government before 2023 did not represent the position of the party. Posting on Facebook, the party spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka said:

MDC believes in non-violence, legality and constitutionalism

The MDC notes with deep worry and concern that Hon. Job Sikhala’s statements made during a rally in Bikita East over the weekend have caused uproar and the party wishes to clarify its position regarding the same.

It is the party’s view that Hon. Sikhala’s views as expressed at the rally and widely quoted in the press were his own personal opinions, which we believe have been misconstrued and misinterpreted.

For the record, the MDC believes in Constitutional, peaceful, democratic, non-violent and legal means of resolving the national crisis. We have never been perpetrators of illegality and non-violence. If anything, we have always been the victims.

The MDC is deeply worried about the escalating national crisis and to this end; the party will on Thursday this week launch the Roadmap to Economic Recovery, Legitimacy, Openness and Democracy (RELOAD) which is our blueprint to legitimacy and economic recovery in the country.
RELOAD does not in any way entail illegal and unconstitutional means of solving the national crisis.

Once again, the MDC wishes to state unequivocally that it has always submitted itself to the cardinal values of legality, constitutionalism and democracy. Any attempt to portray the MDC in any other way is disingenuous and unfortunate.

The Vice President of the MDC-T party, advocate Obert Gutu has said that overthrowing the government is unconstitutional. His remarks come after the vice national chairperson of the MDC-Alliance, advocate Job Sikhala has said that his party was not joking about overthrowing the President Emmerson Mnangagwa led government.

Sikhala mentioned intimidation and terrorisation of citizens as the main reason the MDC-A has resolved to confront the government.

Posting on Twitter, Dr Thokzani Khuphe’s deputy, Gutu said:

Section 59 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe reads: “Every person has the right to demonstrate and to present petitions, but these rights must be exercised peacefully.” It doesn’t provide for the unconstitutional overthrow of Government.

His remarks are in resonance with those of the permanent secretary in the Information Ministry, Nick Mangwana, who described Sikhala’s remarks as uncivilised and unconstitutional. Mangwana added that the government will take necessary actions against anyone who wants to overthrow a constitutionally elected government.

The ruling ZANU PF and the Nelson Chamisa led MDC-A have been at loggerheads since the July 30, 2018 elections which the latter claims were manipulated in favour of the former.

Both parties have been agreeing on the necessity of institution a national dialogue to address both the economic and political crises. However, they clash on the issue of legitimacy which Chamisa is saying has to be resolved since it is the root cause of all the issues. ZANU-PF, on the other hand, is adamant that Mnangagwa won, hence no need for discussing the matter.

Last week MDC vice President Tendai Biti said Zimbabwe is “ripe for another coup”, that could depose President Emmerson Mnangagwa barely two years after he wrestled power from long time ruler Robert Mugabe with the assistance of the military in 2017.

Biti was speaking at a panel discussion hosted by local think-tank, Southern African Political and Economic Series (Sapes) Trust on Thursday.

“We need a national transitional authority, we need to have a soft landing for our country. If we do not do that, we are heading for an implosion, an Armageddon.

“An Armageddon, in the form of another military coup and this is a point which I keep on seeing, that the signs are there just as they were obvious in 2017,” said the Harare East legislator.

Mugabe was pushed out by the army after firing then Vice President Mnangagwa as an internal power struggle within Zanu PF boiled over, amid claims the once powerful State leader was setting up his wife for takeover.

Biti said he had warned about the 2017 coup although he was not spot on about the days.

“If you look at some of the things we wrote, we were arguing as far back as 2013 that there will be a coup in this country. Ofcourse we could not predict 14, 15, 16 November but all the material conditions of another coup are in existence in Zimbabwe at the moment,” said Biti.

“Remember if you study history, there is no coup which is a solitary coup, a coup always comes with a twin brother or multiple brothers.”

Since taking charge and winning controversial elections last year, Mnangagwa has watched the country’s economic fortunes nosedive with deadly protests twice in the past year alone in which over 20 people were gunned down by the army.

Mnangagwa announced a raft of austerity measures that have left citizens on the brink with threats of mass protests looming large.

To avert a crisis, Biti said Zimbabwe needed a quick solution.

“We need to democratically coup-proof our country by finding a democratic solution to our problems and avoid a vacuum that makes military intervention inevitable,” the MDC vice president said.