MDC leader Nelson Chamisa yesterday said he was barred from seeing incarcerated party deputy national chairperson, Job Sikhala, charging that the situation in the country will now drive people into taking action against the rule of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Sikhala is facing subversion charges and was remanded in custody in Masvingo to July 24 after being dramatically whisked out of Harare where party supporters had gathered at the courts to protest his detention.
Chamisa, who was addressing a rally at a packed 10 000-seater Mucheke Stadium in Masvingo, said he was barred from seeing Sikhala and that police were deployed to make sure that he doesn’t get into the prison.
“I wanted to see my brother Job Sikhala, so I went to Masvingo remand and was told he is at Mutimurefu, so I drove there and I was told he is at Masvingo Remand, so I went back again. At Masvingo Remand, they barred me from seeing him. It is very unfortunate,” he said.
“The prison guards said they were given instructions to first call their seniors. They then called their superiors and told me ‘we will be fired if we let you in’. I waited for 30 minutes as they called their seniors in Harare.
Maybe their seniors were calling ED. I kept on waiting till they said they do not know what to do.
“Later, riot police and the Dispol came, they said they wanted to check the situation as they feared there maybe commotion. But even though I am the president of the MDC, I am also a lawyer by profession. Again, arrested people still have their rights. So I told them I will no longer bother you, will take other measures,” Chamisa said to thunderous calls for immediate demonstrations.
The MDC leader also called on Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo’s wife, Loyce Matanda-Moyo, who heads the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zaac) to investigate and arrest deputy Defence minister Victor Matemadanda and Health minister Obadiah Moyo for participating in electoral fraud.
This follows a letter that Matemadanda wrote to the Health minister asking him to provide drugs to health institutions in Lupane ahead of a by-election so that Zanu PF wins.
The letter signed by the Health minister, addressed to Matemadanda and copied to NatPharm managing director Flora Sifeku, permanent secretary Agnes Mahomva and director of pharmacy R Hove was titled: Request for assistance in respect of the Lupane East by-election campaign.
“Your letter of 2 July 2019 requesting for medicines for Lupaka, Gomoza, St Paul, Lake Alice, Lusulu and Lupanda clinics refers. I have instructed the permanent secretary Dr Mahomva to activate Natpharm to supply the clinics mentioned with medicines,” reads the letter signed by Moyo.
Chamisa said: “The problem with our country is corruption, corruption, corruption. I was reading today about Lupane where there is a by-election. Matemadanda writes to the Health minister seeking drugs so that Zanu PF wins and Moyo replies saying he will provide drugs so that (they) win.
“It’s abuse of political public office. Immediately, he must resign and step aside for investigations by Zaac, even though we do not recognise them.
“That level of corruption is serious. Such a minister should immediately step aside for investigation and Zaac must investigate and arrest that person. My brother ED will just be talking about zero tolerance to corruption, but that is one case of corruption. Doesn’t he see that?” Chamisa said.
He said MDC will be embarking on a programme to pile pressure on Mnangagwa.
“We are starting a programme to bring pressure in this country and diplomatic pressure.”
Chamisa told his supporters to mobilise and brace for more demonstrations to pile political pressure on Mnangagwa to resolve the political crisis facing the country following disputed elections held in June last year.
“We are saying be prepared. We plan our things together. The Constitution allows for demonstrations. If I say those not happy to rise up, will you rise up? Will you answer to the call? I want to see those that are ready to respond if we make the call,” Chamisa said.
“Now I have heard that you are ready, we need to do it peacefully in a non-violent, constitutional manner. The day is coming, the time is coming, in the not so distant future, you should give us support. Not so long.
“Zimbabweans have to be free and Zanu PF must go. We do not want those that backtrack, we want you to give us support. We have been quiet for too long as Mnangagwa destroys our livelihoods,” he added.
Chamisa also said he was disturbed by Vice-President Chiwenga’s long absence from public appearance.
“I am really worried about my brother Chiwenga, really worried. Where is he?”
Chamisa also noted: “We have learnt, yes, [that] individuals must go, but the fundamental thing that must go is the system. A system that represents darkness, a system that represents bad governance, a system that celebrates corruption and a system that is responsible for your hunger.” The youthful leader then accused Mnangagwa of reading a book of dictatorship that was previously used by his predecessor Robert Mugabe.