The arrest of MDC vice chairman Job Sikhala last week sparked fresh divisions within the party as a certain faction was miffed after official statements disassociated itself from the legislator’s utterances that President Emmerson Mnangagwa would be ousted before 2023, Business Times has learnt.
Sikhala’s utterances were made at a rally in Bikita. He was subsequently arrested for trying to overthrow a democratically elected President and is out on $5 000 bail.
MDC through deputy spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka issued a statement distancing the party from Sikhala’s remarks which represented his own personal opinion. This triggered some of the party heavyweights to turn against leader Nelson Chamisa who was said to be behind the statement.
“A spokesperson cannot issue a statement without his boss blessing it and the general feeling in the party is that Chamisa is a coward,” revealed a source.
“You have seen several provinces backing Sikhala defying what the national executive haD said. This is clear evidence that there are serious divisions in the party. Provinces were influenced by some top officials to go against the Tamborinyoka’s statements,” the source
Another senior party official said they were irked by the decision to throw Sikhala under the bus.
“I can tell you this;…most of the senior members are not happy with the statement from Tamborinyoka. We have since resolved to keep the current leadership in check,” another source said.
However, MDC secretary general Charlton Hwende said it was not correct to say Sikhala was thrown under the bus because the party provided legal services and provided support to the legislator.
“There is no division in the party as you have seen the level of solidarity and support the party given to Sikhala. It’s just that people misunderstood both the statement of the party and his statement. We are very clear as a party on how we will demonstrate,” Hwende said.
Last week, Chamisa came face to face with disgruntled Masvingo province who told him that they were not happy with the party’s decision to throw Sikhala under the bus and that this contributed to the loss of the Bikita by-election.
“He was told people were not happy with that decision and how it contributed to the subsequent loss of the by-election to ZANU PF. Although he tried to be diplomatic, it did not work because the whole province was disgruntled,” a source said.