Sikhala stirs Zanu PF anger in Parly

HARARE - Opposition Zengeza West MP Job “Wiwa” Sikhala has become well known in the National Assembly for his provocative and controversial statements.

Wiwa, who is MP on the MDC Alliance ticket, sees politics as a bloodsport, and dedicates his time to wheeling out pure political aggression against his Zanu PF rivals, lighting up the National Assembly through what his rivals see as unadulterated hate speech.

In a place where mutual respect and even camaraderie is expected to flourish, and MPs from rival parties forge unexpected close friendships, Sikhala has been shouting and attacking Zanu PF legislators, while also giving meaningful contributions to a number of issues affecting the country.

Sikhala, who over a decade ago was arrested and charged with masterminding a treason attempt, left many legislators in stitches last Wednesday after he shouted at wealthy Bindura North Zanu PF MP Kenneth Musanhi: “Haa unoti chiiko iwe Musanhi, kumeso kunenge kwegudo (You are talking nonsense Musanhi, your face looks like that of a baboon).”

The harsh exchange of words between Sikhala and Musanhi started after the Zengeza West MP stood up to ask Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri about people allegedly killed during Operation Restore Legacy — a euphemism for the soft coup that forced long-serving despot Robert Mugabe from power by his own comrades.

The 94-year-old veteran leader was forced to announce his resignation following pressure from the army and his own party and as Parliament began impeachment proceedings against him.

Sikhala wanted Muchinguri-Kashiri to tell Parliament how many people were killed by the army during that interregnum.

As Sikhala pitched his controversial inquiry, Musanhi told the garrulous MDC MP to sit down. That is when Sikhala hit back, insulting the Zanu PF politburo member.

Deputy speaker Tsitsi Gezi reprimanded Sikhala, telling him to watch his language, saying such a behaviour would ordinarily force her to eject a parliamentarian from the House.

Sikhala tried to defend himself saying: “I withdraw. Long ago, I said I withdraw. I withdraw, however, Madam Speaker, you must notice and also understand the principle called compensation.

“When you hit someone, you must expect to be hit back in equal measure. He provoked me and he should not have expected me to fold my arms.”

A defiant Sikhala proceeded: “I had to hit back but in equal measure. He must also withdraw the insults he threw at me. He initially threw insults at me.”

The MDC MP was then kicked out of Parliament.

After the National Assembly sitting, Sikhala said he had no regrets.

“On my expulsion from Parliament, although I didn’t agree with the ruling, it takes maturity to accept it. Zvakatoitika zvikapfuura. It will not dampen my spirits to remain vibrant. I was just born like that.

“I am just what I am because it is the way I was born. I don’t fake my character. It’s what I am. If you like it or not that’s how I am,” he said.

On many occasions during National Assembly sittings, Sikhala is in the habit of shouting: “Vanhu veZanu (PF) muri mbavha hamuna chamunoziva (Zanu PF members you are thieves, you know absolutely nothing).”

Not only a rabble-rouser, Sikhala  has made a number of contributions on important motions, including questioning the legality of the engagement debt collectors whose directors allegedly include former Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere.

In an interview with the Daily News, Sikhala said he is going to do more for the good of the people.

“When I decided to accept the calling to be in Parliament, I knew the importance of bringing substance to the Legislature.

“The issues I am raising are people-centred issues which the people from my constituency asked me to raise.

“The other issue is that during my sabbatical from Parliament, I took myself to expand my education.

“I now have an appreciation of many issues and that is helping me to take my experience to assist raising issues affecting my constituency and the nation at large.

“Secondly, there is good team spirit among ourselves as MDC MPs in Parliament.

“We share and consult each other in terms of ideas and important issues which helps everyone to gain from each other.

“That should continue and we will be great in representing our people.”

Sikhala was born in Zimbabwe in 1972, and this is the second time he is returning as a member of Parliament. He previously represented St Mary's constituency.

He is married and has degrees in history, economic history and law.

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