HARARE – Daily News on Sunday reporter Blessings Mashaya sits down with MDC recruitment secretary Job “Wiwa” Sikhala for this wide-ranging interview. Find below, excerpts of the interview.
Q: Since your return to MDC from MDC-99, how is your relationship with other members?
A: Specifically for me, I am not worried about relationships with individuals but basically with the president of the party who understands me better.
He is the person who has managed to re-link ourselves and who has decided that we must work together again for us to complete what we started in 1999.
My relationship with the president is not only excellent, but is at a higher level beyond description. There is mutual understanding of where we need to go.
We share common goals; we need to be making sure that we put our efforts and energy towards the emancipation of this country. In general terms, he is a friend, a lovely father.
There are people who have been trying to misrepresent the person of Tsvangirai. Zimbabwe will not get any other leader who is fatherly, who is friendly, who understands the aspects of humanity and also a man who has the simplicity you hardly find in a politician of his stature.
Tsvangirai’s commitment to this country has not changed since 1999. He is still committed in making sure that the country is restored to its glorious past.
That determination rejuvenates all of us to make sure that we must be able to complement him, rather than to undermine him.
I think lots of effort has been used by other people to undermine him than complement him. My current observation is that we were all lost not seeing that this guy has a bigger vision for this country.
If anybody tries to undermine his efforts in my presence, it will be an insult.
In terms of working relationship with others, there is no individuals with whom I have differences, I mind my own business. If my principal who is Tsvangirai gives me a task, I have to deliver it to the maximum of my ability.
If there are people who have differences with me, I don’t care and don’t think about it even a second.
Q: I understand you are the national secretary for recruitment and there is also an organising secretary, is this not a duplication of roles?
A: No. My department is under the organising wing. What you have to understand, I work with instructions and also under the guidance of the organising secretary.
So specifically, my role and duty is to complement the efforts which the organising secretary is trying to put into place.
The organising department is specifically to concentrate on consolidating existing membership, that is people who are in the party structures and also to make sure that all the party structures are there and are functioning around the country.
My complementary role is to recruit new members to the party. My job is to make sure that I recruit all those people who are going to be of voting age in 2018, that is people who are currently in Form 3 or Form 4, people who are currently 16 years are going to be voters in 2018, this is my targeted constituency.
Also those who are in tertiary institutions and those who had defected, I will try to reason and talk to them. We need to be united, that’s how we are going to deliver what we are fighting for. It’s almost two decades now.
There is no conflict with the organising secretary, I do it with humility.
Q: As the secretary for recruitment, is MDC gaining more ground? Some critics are saying the party has lost its mojo?
A: No. You cannot stop people to speculate on things they don’t know. Some of us who are on the ground, who are living in the midst of the poverty-stricken society, I hear the sentiments of people who are at the bottom of our society.
The MDC brand is currently stronger than at any given time since its formation in 1999. It’s either 2018 or never.
At the present moment, even the critics of the inclusive government like me and others; we are now in agreement that during the period of the GNU, things were far much better as compared to the current economic situation where people are currently suffering.
Now, there is an appreciation of the efforts that Tsvangirai did in the inclusive government. Initially, people didn’t see the differences and now the differences are now in the open.
People are now saying that Tsvangirai could have done better if he could have been still in the government or had taken over the rulership of this country, Zimbabwe could have been miles ahead.
I interacted with a number of constituencies and all people are now agreeing that Zanu PF is now dead.
As far as the young generation of this country is concerned, except for the Border Gezi (youths), there is no one who is still supporting Zanu PF.
At the present moment, the brand that Zimbabweans are accepting is MDC and Tsvangirai and anyone who is saying MDC has lost its mojo, to me they are the ones who have lost mojo themselves.
Don’t forget that the foundation of the MDC is of a strong base, which is the working people of this country and people who are currently in vending; they came from the root of the MDC. The party is everywhere. I can bet my last dollar. I am confident enough that Tsvangirai is going to win the 2018 elections. It needs a miracle to stop him to win in 2018.
Q: Some people are saying since your return to the MDC, you have been rather quiet unlike the Job Sikhala we know?
A: At the present moment I am engaged with my studies at the University of Zimbabwe. I am completing my law degree. In the coming 12 months, as you know that education needs discipline and total commitment, I am trying to balance between the two and anyone who is saying I am quiet, they don’t know me.
I will complete my studies soon and come 2017 and 2018; people must expect the biggest fight of their life. I am a fighter. I was born like that. I don’t fear anyone.
I am a man who is prepared to die for the cause of Zimbabwe. Currently, I am being affected with the studies but soon I will be back at my best.
Q: With the current economic situation, what must Zimbabweans do?
A: It’s very difficult because … Mugabe and his family have for the previous years been eating on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe.
You have seen how much they have been enjoying in the Eastern countries while the majority of Zimbabweans are suffering… Zimbabwe is now on the down spiral back to the situation of 2008 and it is going to be worse than 2008.
Mugabe knows that he is running nothing. In this country, there is no economy to talk about. All industries have closed.
If Zimbabweans continue to fear Mugabe’s dictatorship, they are going to suffer for a longer period. Zimbabweans must take the destiny of this country in their own hands. The country cannot continue with this situation.
I am witnessing the kind of poverty which is so shocking; we need to stop this madness. People must wake up and not continue with this path of poverty.
Q: As the secretary for recruitment, what are the general supporters of MDC saying about the coalition of opposition parties?
A: There are mixed feelings among the people of Zimbabwe. People are so divided on this issue.
There are those who believe the coalition between Tsvangirai and Joice Mujuru (former vice president who is now leading Zimbabwe People First) will definitely unseat Mugabe from power. However, others are saying that it is impractical for the two to work together.
As for me, my thinking on the coalition is that anything which is good for the people of Zimbabwe let be it grabbed.
Some people are accusing people in the MDC of rejecting the coalition talks because they need positions.
In MDC, we don’t need positions. What we need is to restore the country back to the glorious days. When the coalition is being done, it must be done in good faith.