In Zimbabwe, no one can threaten the president, not even a lawmaker.
If the popular and ever vocal opposition lawmaker, Job Sikhala had thought that his position and status would give him immunity from the wrath of President Mnangagwa, then he was mistaken. In the books of the president, all men are born equal and anyone who threatens the president by talking of an overthrow will be made to face the music; how interesting.
In every country of the world, opposition leaders often express their lack of support for the ruling party and its leaders. It is not new to hear opposition leaders speak of ousting political leaders, but it appears this is a hideous crime in Zimbabwe, which could lead to 20 years imprisonment regardless of who you are.
Job Sikhala is the deputy chairman of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and a member of parliament. He is known for his outspoken nature right from his early years as a student leader.
Also, it is not news that the MDC has continued to reject Mnangagwa’s presidential victory at last year’s election and not hidden their resolve to do what they can by law to make sure the president is removed from office.
It seems the president has had enough of the threats and has decided to teach the opposition a lesson.
During an opposition rally, Job Sikhala was caught on camera to be telling supporters that:
“We are going to take the fight to the doorsteps of Emmerson Mnangagwa, we are going to overthrow him before 2023, that is not a joke.”
This was enough reason for the government to act, and Mr. Sikhala was detained. He is currently awaiting trials and could face up to 20 years in prison for his threats.
Zimbabwe has arrested 21 people since January on charges of "subverting a constitutionally elected government."
According to his lawyer, he was charged yesterday with subversion after government prosecutors showed a video where the lawmaker purportedly said President Emmerson Mnangagwa would be overthrown before the next election in 2023.
Sikhala’s lawyer, Obey Shava said the outspoken former student leader, who faces up to 20 years in jail if convicted, had been detained at a police station in central Harare and would appear in court on Wednesday.
Without explicitly confirming the video, Shava told Reuters that there was nothing in its contents to suggest a crime had been committed. “He is denying the charge in its totality,” he said.
“We have been pushing the police to go to court but surprisingly their house is not yet in order. We thought they knew what they were doing, but it seems they are not very confident about the case themselves.”
The case against Job Sikhala will be heard again today.
Header Image Credit: Anadolu Agency