Ex-political prisoners Job Sikhala, Jacob Ngarivhume vow to lead protests against Mnangagwa’s government 

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By Tapiwa Svondo 

TWO prominent Zimbabwean ex-political prisoners, Job Sikhala and Jacob Ngarivhume, have joined forces to lead protests, if the need arises, to denounce endemic corruption, plunder of natural resources and general economic malaise presided over by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration.

The activists said they are prepared to work with all democratic forces determined to tackle Zimbabwe’s problems, as the country no longer needs selfish leadership that prioritises personal over national interests.

Addressing journalists Friday at Media Centre in Harare, Sikhala and Ngarivhume announced the coalition, which they claim is a product of wide consultations with the majority of citizens.

“We are coming together as democratic forces in Zimbabwe. This agreement is not between Jacob Ngarivhume and Job Sikhala, it is the agreement of the people of Zimbabwe over their desires to see all democrats coalescing to deal with the challenges we are facing as a nation.

“So as a nation, ladies and gentlemen, we welcome this major development. It was after consultation with the majority of the people of Zimbabwe.”

The pact, Sikhala said, seeks the backing of all change agents inorder to deal with problems bedeviling the country.

The duo indicated that the coalition is open to individuals or democratic forces that are not affiliated to, or have dined with, Zanu PF.

“There are so many people who want to understand what we mean about the coalition of democratic forces and progressive forces.

“What are progressive forces? Progressive forces are the following; a organisations or persons who have not been involved, one way or the other, with abetting the agenda of the current Zanu PF regime.

“Someone who has never at one time or moment been dealing covertly or overtly with Zanu PF to the detriment of our crises. If you realise that at one particular time you have been hobnobbing with Zanu PF, to the masses of our nation, you are not a progressive force.

“We are not interested in working with you, we are prepared with working with those people who have identified our primary enemy and our primary enemy in Zimbabwe is Zanu PF.

“Number two, progressive forces are those who believe in democratic rule of law and constitutionalism, those who believe in collective decision making by the masses of our people.

“Number three, these are people who believe that the interests of our people must be at the centre, the issues that affect our masses in Zimbabwe must be at the centre of every individual self interest. Number four, progressive forces are those who believe that Zimbabwe one day must be free, those who believe that through the power of the people, our people will be free one day.

“So, the parameters are very clear that those people who have never been dinning with our primary enemy in Zimbabwe are progressive forces,” said Sikhala, who spent over a year in pretrial detention.

He emphasised his role as a purveyor of the people’s wishes.

“If our people ask us that they want to protest…all our decisions are going to be people driven. We are just going to be the couriers and messengers of the will of the people.

“If the masses clamour for protests we will only just be the conveyers of the messages that come from the people that the masses have asked us to protest, we are here at your service. We are going to be part and parcel of what you have asked us to do.”

Ngarivhume reiterated that the struggle to liberate the country from the jaws of Mnangagwa’s regime does not reside in an individual but a is a collective responsibility of every citizen.

Jacob Ngarivhume

Sikhala and Ngarivhume declared that they are willing to lead protests if that is what the people want and will not send people out to protest while they remain comfortable at home.

“If the people say we want protests, like l have said over and over, section 59 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe allows for protests. There are guidelines within the constitutional framework that allows for protests, that is not illegal for the people of Zimbabwe to protest.

“The thing that the regime doesn’t entertain protests shows that there is something wrong with it, because protests are provided in the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

“If people say, okay we want to protest we are very much prepared to lead from the front. We don’t want to send the people of Zimbabwe to places that we can’t be, we don’t want them to go into the streets while we are basking in the comfort of our homes and in any case, there is nothing comfortable in our homes anymore because everything comfortable has been destroyed and plundered by corruption.

“So, we will be guided by what the people of Zimbabwe want and because we are not made of cheap steel, we are not violent we are not advocating for violence, we are calling for peaceful engagement in terms of what the people of Zimbabwe want and if it is there in the Constitution, its fine we will do it,” said Ngarivhume.

“But of course, if they arrest us again, should they harm us in any way we are equally prepared internally to deal with whatever comes but of course we will respond to the call of the people of Zimbabwe as provided for in the Constitution of Zimbabwe.”