“To all those who have returned their
democratic right to cling to the CCC carcass, I wish them all the best in their
project.” – Job Sikhala
by: *JOB SIKHALA*
Thursday 08 February 2024
Delivered at SAPES TRUST
For nearly two years, since the 14thof June 2022 to January 30, 2024, I was
a subject of repression and kept in prison, being denied bail. I took the
challenge in the stride, taking it as we go. When you are under attack, I learnt
not to panic but repel everything thrown at you and use it to sustain oneself
against all adversities. I am hardened ladies and gentlemen. There is nothing that would be thrown at me that will either shake or frighten me. In reflection,
when I came out, I issued the following thanksgiving statement.
“For nearly two years, I suffered in my oppressor’s dungeon.
You prayed for
me to be released from the jaws of my tormentors. You clamored loudly for
my release as you knew that I was innocent. You stood with my family. I am
crying as I type this statement. Your love strengthened me throughout. I
deeply understand the pain and agony we shared together during the period
of my unmitigated oppression but let me reassure all of you that;
I am prepared to pay any price for the love of my country,
I am prepared to pay any price for the love of Zimbabwe,
I am prepared to pay any price in defense of democracy, freedom and the
happiness of our people.
To all Zimbabweans in the country and the diaspora, I thank you.
Let me thank all progressive organizations in politics, in the media, civic society, student bodies, professionals, members of parliament both
domestically and internationally for ceaseless condemning the tyrannical
persecutions perpetrated upon me by my enemies.
Let me also thank members of the Diplomatic Corp from world democracies
and Africa whose solidarity was priceless.
I also want to thank the World Governments who remained alert to what was transpiring on my persecution.
To the Free Job Sikhala Solidarity Movement, you were the missing link in
Zimbabwe’s political equation. To my lawyers, words alone are insufficient to
express my gratitude. To Mai Sikhala and family, thank you very much for your love.
With all my love, may the Almighty God bless all of you.
If I omitted or overlooked to thank others who devoted their time, energy and
emotions for my freedom, my sincere apologies. I sincerely thank you. The
new democratic culture which we will ever strive to achieve, even if it means
with our own blood, does not absolve me from criticism on omissions which I
could have done. This is the cornerstone of the democratic struggle we have
been engaging in, and which we desire to build in Zimbabwe.
It is sad that for the past two years when I was in prison, things have turned for the worse. I still found people in abject poverty, struggling for a meal a day, shrinking democratic space, entrenched dictatorship, fear and
hopelessness of the direction the country is going. Elections came and went
when I was in prison, amid an extreme toxic political environment, and the clamor for economic and electoral reforms. Before going further, any form of
electoral process in our country under the same usual conditions and without
the necessary reforms to deliver the will of the people, has been a challenge
confronting us as Zimbabwe since the emergency of the mass democratic
struggle in our Country. This is the center of the democratic struggle for any
future political trajectory in Zimbabwe. The call for reforms shall be the forte
of our struggle and shall position and give the people of Zimbabwe a golden
chance to choose leaders of their own choice. The question to ask is whether
the mass democratic struggle is going to achieve a different result from our
experiences of the past? What is the strategy? I will come to this subject at
the later stage.
What is currently happening in the opposition is not uncommon. It is the
common political strategy that has happened and implemented by despots
throughout the world down the centuries. Mobutu Sese Seko used the same
strategy of distributing patronage and buying of individuals in opposition
ranks to destroy and disorganize it by exploiting the discovered weaknesses
in the opposition superstructure. During the mass democratic revolt against
imperialism and colonialism in our own country, the Rhodesian kingpin, Ian
Douglas Smith implemented the strategy with perfection to the extent of
delivering an internal settlement. Series of Apartheid leaders applied the same
strategy and tactics and ended up establishing homelands which purportedly
gave a façade of independence to black self-governed enclaves. Dear
Zimbabweans and worldwide friends, Zimbabwe is at the crossroads.
Coming back to the question of whether the mass democratic struggle in our
nation is going to achieve a different result from our experiences of the past?
Yes, it will be. Yes, it will be. How? Our seemingly unsurmountable struggle for freedom and emancipation needs everyone on board, whether black, white
or yellow. It is our challenge together. Our struggle should not be restricted
by narrowness, lack of initiative and hesitation. The question on what to do next is answered by the authors and originators of the mass democratic
struggle in Zimbabwe who are the people who, in February 1999, spoke through the People’s Working Convention, where all constituents bodies were
represented. The People’s Working Convention was an affirmation to Martin
Luther King Jnr’s proclamation that:
“There comes a time when people get tired of being trampled over by the
iron feet of oppression. There comes a time when people get tired of
being flunk across the abyss of humiliation where they experience the bleakness of nagging despair.”
The weakness of our 1999 approach was that the meeting of the constituent
bodies was heavy at the top with only the ZCTU having grassroots structures.
It was the meeting of constituent bodies at the national leadership level with
less participation from the shopfloor and village level which eventually led to the clash of egos. Zimbabwe needs a way forward to answer the national
question, of whereto from here. The way forward on what should be done from
here will come from the people through a Mass Nationwide Democratic
Consultative Process. The national consultative process will convene
Nationwide Democratic Consultative Conventions. The Consultative process
will involve all important constituent bodies, that is, the general masses of
our people, labor, students, traditional leaders, churches, civic society,
businesspersons, professionals, residents’ associations, informal traders,
women clubs, farmers, peasants, youth organizations, progressive political
organizations, war veterans, war collaborators, artists, corporate business
sector, and people living with disabilities.
It will start from the village, to the
ward, district and the provincial level. This process will be conducted by the
representatives of different constituent bodies at every level.
The process will
eventually lead to the convening of the National People’s Democratic
Convention. The input and ideas that will come from the people will be
collated and coalesced by the National Democratic Taskforce made up of
seconded persons from different constituent bodies who will be the conveners
of the National Democratic Peoples Convention. Each ward, in this process,
shall elect a delegate to attend the National People’s Democratic Convention
which will debate the views collated and coalesced during the Democratic
Consultative Conventions held at the shopfloor and grassroots level
throughout the country. This will be our guide to the future.
Critics are pointing out that some constituent bodies have been hijacked by
ZANU PF like what they have done to the CCC. Let me give you as an example,
bodies such as ZCTU, or any other constituent body do not mean persons at
leadership level. ZCTU is the worker who is at the shopfloor level. It is not its
leadership. There is no ward, district or province without a student, a worker
or a church elder.
Those are the ones that will constitute the Democratic
Therefore, there will be no one left without being
consulted from Malipati to Matusadonha, from Kotwa to Manama, from
Sipepa to Muzarabani. We are embodied by the declaration of Nelson Mandela
“Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action
is merely daydreaming, but vision with action can change the world.”
We are not here to pronounce the emergence of a political organization but a
broad-based mass democratic movement for everyone in advancement of the
mass democratic struggle in the fashion of the United Democratic Front (UDF)
of the 1980s in apartheid South Africa. This is motivated in remembrance of
the great ideals held by many Zimbabweans who perished during the period
of the liberation struggle, Gukurahundi and those who died since the
resuscitation of the goals and aspirations of the mass democratic struggle in
Dala Costa had this message for all the leaders,
“Do not promise what you cannot deliver, do not misrepresent, do not
hide behind spin doctored evasions, do not suppress obligations, do not
evade accountability, do not accept the survival of the fittest pressures”.
We promise that we will stand by our word and deliver in terms of our pact.
We are not men and women of empty threats. We are decisive in our
The mass democratic struggle is people driven and owned.
waged throughout the world has succeeded when people own it.
must own the next decisive stage of our struggle. Whether I will be there with
you or not, as my enemies have not shelved their plan to assassinate me for
the sins best known to themselves, this process must proceed uninhibited to
With or without resources, the people shall carry out this most important task
in the decisive phase of our history and our people’s struggle against tyranny
for their freedom, dignity and prosperity.
To all those who have returned their democratic right to cling to the CCC carcass, I wish them all the best in their
We pray to the God of David to give us strength not to be shaken by the antics
of our enemies and to bless the fruits of our labour and efforts.
I thank you all.