After the devastating blow to Nelson Chamisa’s Movement for Democratic Change-Alliance when the People’s Democratic Party recalled six legislators including Tendai Biti last week, whispers say another firebrand Job Sikhala could be next.
This would be a terrible blow to the MDC-Alliance as the party has been under siege since the Supreme Court ruling of March last year which declared Chamisa’s leadership of the party formerly led by Morgan Tsvangirai illegitimate.
The party has also been rocked by defections by senior officials to the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.
Although the MDC-Alliance has brushed off the defections and the recalling of MPs claiming this was a futile exercise by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his ZANU-PF to weaken the opposition and create a one-party state, this is a clear indication of how badly the opposition has been infiltrated by the ruling party if the allegations are true.
Labelling each other ZANU-PF dates back to the formation of the opposition more than 20 years ago and if this were to be used as a yardstick, no one including party leader Nelson Chamisa would be spared.
Founding party leader Morgan Tsvangirai was a member of ZANU-PF before leading the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, itself a creation of ZANU-PF, until Tsvangirai weaned it off politics only to see it aligned to the MDC when he became leader of the opposition.
Chamisa, Sikhala, Learnmore Jongwe and Tafadzwa Musekiwa- all former student leaders and the first batch of young men to become MDC legislators- were accused of being ZANU-PF plants just one year after the formation of the party.
Former legislator and late Zimbabwe Ambassador to Senegal Trudy Stevenson told United States embassy officials in March 2001 that some of the party’s young stars used unnecessarily sharp rhetoric at public rallies portraying the political struggle as pitting the younger generation versus the older, discredited generation.
She said that young, sophisticated MDC cadres “stick like glue to Tsvangirai”.
This seems to be what is happening today as young student activists are sticking to Chamisa like glue.
Biti and Sikhala, who once dumped Tsvangirai, were accommodated by Chamisa and were elected to Parliament which they would not have done if they had stuck to their own political parties.
Biti is now out after being recalled by his party.
There are now fears that Sikhala could be next.
Sikhala broke away from Tsvangirai in 2006 to join the Arthur Mutambara-led MDC, but left that party to form his own MDC-99 in 2010.
He rejoined Tsvangirai in 2014 and won the 2018 Zengeza West seat under the MDC Alliance.
Sikhala could therefore be recalled by MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora who has been methodically culling former members of the party who are refusing to accept last year’s Supreme Court ruling that the MDC- Alliance is not a political party but an alliance of seven political parties.