Incarcerated opposition politician Job Sikhala has revealed that he has been secretly suffering from a “strange, scary illness” for the past three weeks. Sikhala, who is being held in Chikurubi prison on allegations of inciting public violence, wrote a letter from his cell to the people of Zimbabwe in which he described the illness as a pain in his left abdomen that has grown increasingly severe. Sikhala said he is worried the illness could be deadly and mentioned that he has vomited and had a ceaseless running stomach. He also stated that the prison authorities have denied him access to a doctor, despite the efforts of his lawyers to bring one to see him.
In the letter, Sikhala described his situation as a “choreographed persecution of the century” and said he is prepared to die for standing firm while protecting the rights of Moreblessing Ali, a slain activist for the Zengeza West Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC). He has been in jail for almost seven months and is facing trial for his alleged actions.
Sikhala also wrote about the broader political situation in Zimbabwe, stating that the country is in a crisis and that freedom of expression has been completely shut down. He said that any criticism of the government is “viciously crushed” and that the suffering and pain of those inside and outside of prison is the same. Sikhala added that he believes the world will not allow Zimbabweans to perish on their own and that voices of reason will emerge from the SADC region, the African Union, and the United Nations to defend the people of Zimbabwe who are under attack.
In the letter, Sikhala also reflected on the lessons he has learned while in prison, stating that it has taught him about the injustices and cruelty of the wicked and how power can be used irresponsibly to inflict maximum pain on the innocent and powerless. He said that prison has been the “uppermost university” for him and has taught him to strengthen his mastery over emotions. Sikhala also commented on the behavior of leaders, stating that many tend to become conceited and arrogant when they gain power over millions and that true character is revealed when a person is given power.
Sikhala concluded the letter by wishing Zimbabweans a happy and prosperous 2023 and thanking God for his grace in bringing them into the new year.