Zimbabwe Opposition Leader Dumps ‘Dead’ Party

Job Sikhala launches a new initiative to consult the people and form a national movement

by Victor Adetimilehin

Zimbabwe’s veteran opposition leader Job Sikhala has announced his departure from the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), a party he co-founded with Nelson Chamisa two years ago. Sikhala said the CCC was “dead” and had been infiltrated by Zanu PF functionaries.

Sikhala, who was recently released after spending nearly two years in prison on charges of inciting public violence, said he was launching a mass nationwide democratic consultative process to form a new national movement.

“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 sector, and people living with disabilities,” he said at a press conference attended by several Western diplomats in Harare yesterday.

Sikhala said a series of “democratic consultative conventions” would be held at various levels, starting at the village level and culminating in a national people’s democratic 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 levels throughout the country,” he said. Sikhala acknowledged the challenges ahead, including potential resistance from the ruling party.

He painted a bleak picture of Zimbabwe’s current state, citing “abject poverty”, “shrinking democratic space” and “entrenched dictatorship”. Sikhala called for a united struggle beyond narrow political interests

Why Sikhala’s move matters

Sikhala’s decision to dump the CCC and start a new initiative is a significant development in Zimbabwe’s opposition politics. Sikhala is a charismatic and outspoken leader who commands a loyal following among the grassroots, especially in the rural areas where the opposition has struggled to make inroads.

Sikhala’s move could also signal a rift within the CCC, which was formed in 2023 after a split from the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Chamisa, the leader of the CCC, also announced his departure from the party last week, saying he wanted to focus on building a broad coalition of democratic forces.

Analysts say Sikhala and Chamisa may have different visions and strategies for the opposition, and that their departure could weaken the CCC’s chances of challenging Zanu PF in the 2025 elections.

However, some observers say Sikhala’s initiative could also offer an opportunity for dialogue and collaboration among the various opposition groups and civil society actors, who have often been divided and fragmented.

Sikhala said he was open to working with anyone who shared his vision of a democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe.

“We are not here to compete with anyone. We are here to build a new Zimbabwe that we all dream of,” he said.

Source: Newsday Zimbabwe 

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