Outspoken MDC Alliance Vice Chairman and Zengeza West MP, Job Sikhala approaches life differently.
While most political leaders of his rank are spending the five weeks of the lockdown in the glitter and comfort of cities, Wiwa as Sikhala is popularly known has retreated to his father’s humble farm in Masema, Gutu.
Wiwa who is also a prominent lawyer in Harare took his whole family to his roots; his wife Ellen and seven children.
Speaking in an interview with The Mirror, Wiwa said the most effective lockdown is in the rural areas where social distance is natural. He went to Gutu on March 29, immediately after President Mnangagwa declared the lockdown.
“I took my family to the rural areas mainly because social distance comes easily. You rarely meet people outside your family members when you are in the rural areas. Social distance comes naturally,” said Sikhala.
Somehow Sikhala also believes that there are traditional medicines that can deal a deathblow to the Covid-19 virus in the rural areas. He said they are found in abundance and cited one of them as mufandichimuka (resurrection bush)
Sikhala indeed has other reasons to be at his father’s farm. He is down to earth, he wants to help his father Andrew Munyina Sikhala with work at the famous Farm Number 35.
There are 52 herds of cattle, 32 goats and tens of turkeys and chickens at the farm and because at 69 his father is getting old for the management of the farm, Sikhala is increasingly taking over some of the responsibilities.
“We expect a bumper maize harvest and I therefore spend a lot of time in the fields and at the paddocks,” said Sikhala.
He says the lockdown has also given him a good opportunity to be with his family.
“I play with my children at the farm, there is ample space than in the city. I buy beer and enjoy a drink with my father. It is very fulfilling for families when you are all there together as a unit in the roots. Very fulfilling my brother,” said Sikhala.
The 30 days of lockdown are also going to give Sikhala quiet time to himself at the farm to reflect and introspect on his life. He rarely has a chance to sit and look back because of the hustle and bustle of his political and professional life.
“One very significant thing is that this farm will be my retirement home. I was born and I grew up here. When I am here like this, I have enough time to plan on what I want the farm to look like when I come back from the city for retirement. I must build it for that,” said Sikhala.
He said that in terms of politics, he will use the lockdown to recharge his batteries. He will be reinvigorated after the rest.
“I use this lockdown period to recharge my political batteries. This place where I grew up is very inspiring to me and I will be fully charged by the end of the lockdown,” said Wiwa almost triumphantly.
Sikhala has remained humble and down to earth. Despite winning the Zengeza West Constituency on three different occasions, he has remained at his simple home in St Mary’s, Chitungwiza, one of Harare’s poorest suburbs.
Sikhala is always at home with the rank and file of the party.
The farm has a humble homestead. It has a 5-roomed main house, a 3-roomed cottage and a kitchen and the homestead is painted all cream.
“I left Harare on March 29, 2020 and this is my third week here now. I will be here with my family until the lockdown is over. This place has a lot of traditional medicines like Mufandichimuka which I believe are capable of dealing with symptoms of Covid-19,” said Sikhala.
Outside Covid time, Sikhala’s homestead is a meeting place for people from all over the place. He is a popular and sociable politician.
“I have very strong rural roots. I grew up here and did all my schooling here. I attended every important program here. People flock to this place whenever I am around minus this time of Covid -19 of course,” he said.