Sikhala enraged the top and provincial leaderships when he mobilised people to attend his court trial on factional lines. According to a well-placed insider, the factional mobilisation exercise explains why the national executive and standing committee members shunned the court case in solidarity with the firebrand politician.
“When Sikhala visited Mavingo to organise the mobilisation exercise, he engaged the (Tongai) Matutu faction which subscribes to (Tendai) Biti faction. This infuriated the rival faction led by the provincial chairman, James Gumbi who directed his faction members to shun the solidarity attendance of the trial.
“Gumbi himself had received the directive to shun Sikhala, from president (Nelson) Chamisa who believes the Zengeza West legislator has become big-headed and too ambitious,” said the source.
Speaking to this publication, the party’s provincial secretary for Information and Publicity, Derrick Charamba said party members could not attend the court hearing because the mobilisation was conducted on factional lines.
Charamba, who belongs to the Gumbi faction, said the party including its president, Nelson Chamisa was also infuriated by the dropping of a party lawyer by Sikhala in favour of Tendai Biti.
The source revealed that Sikhala dropped party imposed lawyers after he got wind that they had a brief from Chamisa to throw him under the bus. Aware of the plot, the big-guns from Chamisa’s faction had already positioned themselves to take over from Sikhala’s position as the party’s vice chairman.
Chamisa is said to have been irked by Sikhala’s association with anti-Chamisa elements like Dzikamai Mavhaire. Mavhaire reportedly tipped Sikhala of a plot to throw him under the bus and sabotage his mobilisation exercise. The tip-off saw Sikhala visit Masvingo to organise the mobilisation drive himself.
Although Sikhala allegedly harbours future ambitions for the party’s presidential office, he is currently rallying behind the MDC vice president, Tendai Biti. Biti holds the youthful leader in disdain and is currently lobbying Zanu PF legislators to push for 50 years minimum age for a presidential candidate.
Sources say the move is meant to disqualify Chamisa, who will be 45 in 2023, from the presidential race.
The party’s security department has placed Biti under a 24-hour surveillance to monitor his movements following the revelations that he was lobbying Zanu PF legislators to up the presidential age limit.