By Staff Reporter
OPPOSITION Citizens Coaltion for Change (CCC) activists have risen to the defence of the party and its leader, Nelson Chamisa, in the row over the welfare of jailed legislator Job Sikhala.
Sikhala has now clocked more than 300 days in remand prison, denied bail multiple times by the courts, following his arrest for allegedly inciting public violence and disturbing police investigations in the murder of slain CCC activist, Moreblessing Ali.
Chamisa and his CCC party have faced allegations of not doing enough to push for Sikhala’s release with the legislator also claiming that he has been betrayed by those close to him.
Journalist and political commentator Hopewell Chin’ono stoked the fires again over the past few days while criticising the party for not putting Zanu PF and government under pressure over the Gold Mafia scandal.
Chin’ono said CCC had failed to help Sikhala “who is rotting in prison … his family starves and have to live through well-wishers”.
Your party has failed to even help @JobSikhala1 who is rotting in prison.
His family starves and have to live through well wishers.
His kids fees has not been paid, and you come here on Twitter to grandstand posting useless messages.
You deceive the foolish not me! https://t.co/mJdA9aemMY
— Hopewell Chin’ono (@daddyhope) April 10, 2023
Among the many activists who defended Chamisa and CCC was Tawanda Muchehiwa, who is now based in the UK, after he was abducted and tortured by suspected State Agents.
Muchehiwa reminded Chin’ono and other critics that Chamisa had tried to visit Sikhala at Chikurubi prison only to be blocked by officials.
“Through his lawyers,Chamisa successfully got the approval to visit Job Sikhala,but when he got to Chikurubi Maximum Prison, he was yet again denied access to Job Sikhala. Zanu PF even spread LIES that it was Job Sikhala who refused to see him,” Muchehiwa wrote on Twitter.
“(CCC’s) legal department is working hand in glove with Job Sikhala’s lawyers … to secure Sikhala’s freedom. The only reason Sikhala is in jail is because Zanu PF weaponized the justice system against the opposition.”
Regarding the welfare of the legislator and his family, Muchehiwa said; “On the welfare front, @CCCZimbabwe welfare department coordinated by @MaureenKade has arrangements to ensure Sikhala gets fresh meals every day. There is a team of change champions in the diaspora who assist on welfare support for the Sikhala family.
“Job Sikhala’s family cannot really starve as claimed when he, as a member of parliament recently got a US$40 000 loan. Everything was arranged while he is in jail and it was delivered.”
Sikhala has also previously appeared to suggest that he was being betrayed by those close to him.
In his new year’s message from prison, the legislator wrote; “The University of Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison has revealed to me treacherous hypocrites, sell outs, colluders with my persecution, opportunists trying to capitalise on the predicament of the moment for cheap political and financial gain from my tormentors.”
He added; “With respect, prison teaches one to distinguish real and true friends on the one hand and hypocrites on the other.
“It opened me and exorcised from me some fallacies and falsehoods I had about some people around me.”