AT its formation, the MDC had the vibrancy of youthful politicians who managed to change the face of opposition politics in Zimbabwe.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
One such person was, Job “Wiwa” Sikhala, known for his fiery attacks against Zanu PF for its ruinous policies and he stood out as one of the most outspoken politicians in the opposition.
In the 17 years that MDC has been in existence, there have been numerous splits and bruising fights within the opposition itself and Sikhala has had his fair share of controversies.
After an acrimonious relationship with MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, the former St Marys MP was accepted back in the party and has been one of the few voices of reason in the labour-backed movement.
However, the former UZ student leader now finds himself in an envious position — he is employed by Tsvangirai’s fierce rival Tendai Biti, as a lawyer.
Biti now leads the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) after he dumped Tsvangirai in the aftermath of the 2013 elections and there is no love lost between the two gladiators.
But Sikhala has no problems with where his bread is buttered.
“I am not conflicted in as far as my political position and views are concerned,” he said.
“I am a professional first and politician second. I couldn’t think twice when senior counsel Tendai Biti offered me an opportunity to work under him in my lawyering profession.
“Biti is one of the finest legal minds in the country. He is a phenomenon in law,” Sikhala told The Standard, while listing a litany of landmark court victories that the former Finance minister has under his belt.
He added: “These are just small highlights of some of the finest cases Biti argued, which developed our jurisprudence from one end to another level.
“To be the best, you must pass through the hands of the best.
“That’s where my relationship with Biti begins and ends. A purely professional relationship. He is preparing me to be among the best.”
The MDC-T national executive member said his political views had not changed despite his relationship with Biti.
“Politically, I am with Morgan Tsvangirai. The other issue you must understand is that I don’t hate anyone whom I once worked with during the difficult stage of our struggle,” he said.
“Forming the MDC in 1999 against a frightening dictatorship was not a stroll in the park. It needed brave men and women.”
Sikhala said anyone who found it awkward that he works for Biti “should be demented, when all and sundry were comfortable to sit with Robert Mugabe during the inclusive government.”
“Although the party should not interfere with the professional interests and pursuits of its members, I had the courtesy to visit my president Morgan Tsvangirai to tell him that I was joining Tendai Biti,” Sikhala said.
“Like what I said on your first question, at Biti’s firm, it’s a factory and brewery of law.
“I am under the stewardship of the best and to be the best you need to be under the best.
“So far, I am astonished with the volume of intellectual and legal gain I have obtained.”
Back to opposition, Sikhala said he had little faith that Mugabe will leave power through elections. He said there will come a time when people will be angry with his rule and start demanding their power.
“Dictators are not supported or loved by their own people. They force people to love them.
“They live in the false claim of being loved by their own people while it is a small clique of benefactors of the despot’s benevolence,” Sikhala said.
“I long lost faith in solving the democratic question against the dictatorship through an electoral process.
“The people of Zimbabwe haven’t yet suffered enough. They are angry but the anger has not yet reached the boiling point and explosion stage.
“When the anger reaches explosion stage it will be tragic and catastrophic both to the dictator and his hangers on although there will be some casualties which is the price of every people’s freedom.”
He said the opposition enjoyed the majority’s support, claiming that even those surrounding Mugabe “don’t like him.”
Sikhala said in a free environment, Zanu PF had no chance to win again.
“They give him adulation to deceive him for the purpose more of economic grandeur than love for the man.
“So as the opposition, we can only win if we are in an open democracy.
“Zimbabwe is not under an open democracy. It is under a colossal dictatorship. The machinery we only have are the people,” he said.
“When irreversible anger comes that’s when you will realise that Zanu PF has no supporters at all.
“They will disappear into thin air.”
Like many others, Sikhala said the issue of a coalition had become cause for concern.
Since last year, opposition leaders have been talking about the need for an alliance but that still remains elusive.
“We expect leaders worth the people’s attention and vote to put the people of Zimbabwe first,” Sikhala said.
“It seems people are fighting for the power that is not there and that might not ever come if maturity doesn’t take precedence over self-interests.
“Some of the childish grandstanding we witness every day leaves many Zimbabweans in despair.
“Those squabbling over non-issues shall realise in the aftermath of the elections that they don’t have and do not own people. People own their destiny.”