The number of people coming to court in solidarity with jailed opposition members has dwindled drastically, a prominent organiser and fundraiser for the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) as well as a prominent CCC activist and journalist have said.
Solidarity for Sikhala is dying
Human rights lawyer Freddy Michael Masarirevu has been collecting and distributing donations to families of the party activists arrested for the Nyatsime area violence in June
Sikhala, a legislator, has been in remand prison since 14 June on multiple charges including inciting violence, attempting to defeat the course of justice as well as violating bail conditions in previous cases still before the courts.
Now in jail for over 62 days, the number of arrested activists has since gone up to 16 at a time all indications are that they will not get bail anytime soon, if at all.
Masarirevu, who has been attending court appearances for the imprisoned activists, said there are now no more than a handful of party colleagues coming to court in solidarity with their colleagues.
“The numbers (of CCC members) at Court are dwindling, the energy is dying. The usual voices of solidarity are fading each time his freedom bid fails,” said Masarirevu.
Chin’ono says CCC MPs are disorganized
CCC activist and journalist Hopewell Chin’ono blamed the party’s elected officials for not organizing people in protest in solidarity with arrested members. However, CCC has only 19 elected legislators and 75 councillors countrywide, according to party’s Secretary-General Chalton Hwende.
“One of the most disappointing things about Zimbabwe is that when someone like JobbSikhala is arrested standing up for all of us, he can be quickly be forgotten,” Chin’ono reckoned. “It makes activists think twice about challenging the system because Zimbabweans are simply disorganized, so are the CCC MPs.”
Exiled former Cabinet Minister Walter Mzembi said the opposition ranks were paralyzed by fear, adding that 2023 was a foregone conclusion inasfar as removing Zanu PF from power was concerned.
“If we are paralysed by fear and non engagement there is no 2023 to talk about. A test case is before the people Job Sikhala and the Nyatsime 15,” Mzembi said.
Isu tinofamba naJesu; we don’t do violent politics: Chamisa
Mzembi criticised CCC leader Nelson Chamisa for “burying his head in the sand” like an ostrich after Chamisa indicated recently that he would not organise a protest for Sikhala’s release. Chamiss at the weekend while addressing a rally in Masvingo said he received guidance from God and would act as God instructed him to.
Addressing thousands of supporters yesterday in Masvingo during a “thank you” rally following party’s victory in the recently held by-elections, Chamisa said his party was not violent and will never engage in any mayhem for the release of the jailed party members.
“We are bringing a different type of politics in this country,” said Chamisa. “Some people have been saying Chamisa tell people to go into the streets for violence because they listen to you. You are the leader, and they will do anything you tell them.
“I said no, God has no confusion, He will tell me what to do. Please do not force me to do what I have not been told to do yet.
He added; “I will do the protests when the time is right, I will lead. We are not a violent party. Isu tinofamba naJesu; we do not do violent politics. We only do peace politics, developmental politics, transformation politics.”
Chamisa said his party party has engaged the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and African Union (AU) concerning the abuse of the courts by the ruling Zanu PF party.
“Right now, Sikhala, Sithole and our other members are in prison because they wanted justice for Moreblessing Ali. They do not deserve to be in prison, they must be released, bail is a right for everyone,” he said.
“This shows there is a problem in this country, no one must be in prison if not proven guilty. We respect our courts, but we expect them to be constitutional, we have told SADC and AU that the law is being used for political persecution.”