Former St Mary’s legislator Job Sikhala (JS), known for his MDC-T militancy is now contesting for Zengeza West after a long absence from Parliament. He is confident of winning the seat despite facing stiff competition from other contestants. He spoke to our senior reporter Obey Manayiti (ND) of his plans for Zengeza West and below are excerpts.
ND: How has been you campaign so far? Are you confident of winning the seat?
JS: The campaign has been massive. I am a very difficult character, my brother. Strategising has been my God-given gift. Nowhere has the campaign been so fascinating like in Zengeza West. I will thumb all and sundry.
ND: There are those that claim you are failing to control the ground, claiming you were as strong in St Mary’s than in Zengeza West. Why have you chosen this constituency?
JS: There is nowhere I have solid support than in Zengeza West. Anyone claiming that I have got no grip of the constituency is a dreamer who pours out his or her wishes. I have had eight ward-based rallies which were a massive success and had door-to-door campaigns in all wards, had a massive constituency rally last Sunday, which you can view on my Facebook page where my rivals came to surrender. Zengeza West will produce the largest vote for the MDC Alliance president (Nelson Chamisa) and his MP and councillors. I can choose any constituency in Chitungwiza and win.
ND: Some claim the opposition is gifting Zanu PF the seat by splitting the vote between yourself and incumbent legislator? How do you respond to that?
JS: The incumbent will only split himself. He is so unpopular that he will be lucky to get 200 votes. How will he split my votes today when I thoroughly defeated him during the party primary elections? He had 273 votes to my 894 votes and you think such a person could split votes. He could not manage to hold a single rally in the five years he was MP up to now, and you think such a pretender can split votes? People must learn to take themselves seriously. It is few days left. Wait and see!ND: Are you satisfied with the current political environment as compared to previous years where widespread violence was the order of the day? Can you say there is an improvement?
JS: The political environment is not defined by lack of political violence. It is defined by technical conduct of the elections.
As long as outstanding issues to do with the ballot paper and the voters’ roll are not attended to, there is nothing like an improvement. The electoral system now centres on technology. Violence is no longer an option because it is no longer tolerable in the modern world. We are in the new phase of fighting technological manipulation of the electoral processes.
ND: What can you say about the conduct of Zec? Do you think the commission has what it takes to deliver a credible election?
JS: It has been glaring to everyone that Zec has been behaving like Zanu PF political commissars. Their failure has already been exposed through their partisan conduct of the postal ballot paper. Their surrender of the voters’ roll database to Zanu PF where they (ruling party) accessed everyone’s telephone numbers is a huge scandal. Service providers do not know that people have changed wards.
For example, my wife’s number is registered at our house in St Mary’s and is a voter in ward 7 in Zengeza West. She received the message indicating her new ward. It’s a huge scandal that could lead to instability in the country.
ND: What should be the way forward?
JS: The way forward will be delivered by the people of Zimbabwe very soon. The continued taking people of Zimbabwe for granted has a great risk of threatening even the stability of our nation. You must study the mood of the people at the moment. They are ready for any consequences.
ND: There are some critics who are alleging that the old militant and forceful Sikhala is different from the present one. Why have you softened down?
JS: I haven’t softened down. I am what I used to be. Only that the present Sikhala is more sophisticated than before. People used to read my mind and the next step I would take. No one, including my wife, knows what I think and the next move I will take. I like it that way, militancy in brain power.
ND: What are you promising your constituents in the event that you win?
JS: I will win, not if you will win. It’s unfair to give false hope to contestants against me. They know the game is over. I will deliver the best, which they know. We have been meeting them on a daily basis. We are now focused on the programme at hand for the constituency. They know them. I will build a model constituency in Zengeza West.