By Costa Nkomo
TEMPERS are rising in Harare after Zengeza West MP, Job Sikhala charged with subversion over coup utterances allegedly made at a rally in Bikita, Masvingo failed to appear in court Wednesday afternoon before government announced he will be arraigned before a Magistrate, Thursday.
MDC leader Nelson Chamisa, in a message on his Twitter, declared “the old must go now!”
In a short statement on social media, government said reports Sikhala had “disappeared” were inaccurate.
“We have noted media reports alleging that Hon Sikhala is missing. Those reports are inaccurate. The courts have directed that his case should be tried in Bikita.
“Hon Sikhala is being transported by the police to Bikita where the alleged crime was committed,” the Ministry of Information said late afternoon Wednesday.
And Chamisa, whose party issued a statement distancing itself from Sikhala’s utterances to the effect that the MDC was planning to “overthrow” President Emmerson Mnangagwa before the 2023 elections, wadded into the storm.
“Just been informed now that Hon Sikhala is no longer appearing at Rotten Row Court. His whereabouts are unknown. The lawyers and us all have been kept guessing.
“This is the old reinvented, definitely with much more vice. This is the old we can’t reform. This is the old that must go now,” Chamisa told his followers.
Earlier in the day as dozens demonstrated outside court where Sikhala was expected to appear, Chamisa had instead chosen to visit a newly constructed council clinic on the southern fringes of the capital.
He did not comment on the emotive issue that seems to have inflamed divisions within his party with supporters angry at the decision to “dump” the vice national chairman and Zengeza West MP.
Sikhala was arrested on Tuesday after being summoned by police over utterances he allegedly made at a party campaign rally in Bikita district last Saturday.
He was due in court Wednesday, on charges of subversion but did not, forcing his lawyers and party to sound the alarm bell.
Earlier on Wednesday, outside the Harare magistrates’ court in the capital, MDC secretary for legal affairs, Innocent Gonese told journalists that they had been “sold a dummy” by authorities.
“This amounts to abduction. He (Sikhala) just disappeared,” Gonese said.
The Zengeza West legislator reportedly bellowed: “We will overthrow Mnangagwa before 2023.”
Government and the ruling party reacted angrily to the utterances accusing the MDC of seeking illegal regime change in the country.