The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party, led by Nelson Chamisa, has refuted claims that it has abandoned its vice chairman, Job Sikhala, who has been incarcerated at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison for 303 days. Sikhala was arrested in June 2022 for allegedly inciting public violence following clashes at the funeral wake of CCC activist Moreblessing Ali. The charges against him are widely believed to be politically motivated.
CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere dismissed the notion that the party has turned its back on Sikhala as mere propaganda. “The suggestion that the citizens have abandoned Honourable Sikhala is obviously propaganda. Nothing could be far from the truth. Sikhala is a citizen just like all of us; he is a change champion who is at the forefront of working for the citizens in Zimbabwe. He remains one of us,” Mahere said in a statement.
Sikhala’s spokesperson, Freddy Michael Masarirevu, also defended the CCC party, saying that Chamisa made efforts to see Sikhala when he visited him at Chikurubi. “I was at Chikurubhi the day CCiC @nelsonchamisa was made to wait for 4 hours & still denied access to see Hon @JobSikhala1 – He was patient & waited outside whilst phone calls were being made. I even left the place & he remained behind – I see effort, I see love,” Masarirevu tweeted.
However, government critic and award-winning journalist Hopewell Chin’ono recently clashed with CCC activists on social media after he accused the party of abandoning Sikhala. The situation has highlighted the need for a fair and just legal system in Zimbabwe that respects the rights of citizens and upholds the rule of law.
Meanwhile, an independent civic group, Poverty Liberation Movement, co-founded by Sikhala, is mobilizing a solidarity visit to his family this Saturday. The group has invited supporters to send letters of encouragement to Sikhala via email if they are unable to attend the visit in person.
As the political situation in Zimbabwe remains tense, it is important for opposition parties and civic groups to continue to show solidarity with those who have been unjustly targeted by the authorities. The international community must also continue to hold the Zimbabwean government accountable for its actions and push for meaningful reform.