By Job Wiwa Sikhala
It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter to you after the tragic news of the passing of a gallant son of the Republic, Patson Dzamara. Equally, I am saddened yet enraged by the callous murder of the MDC Alliance’s Hurungwe District Ward 4 councillor Lavender Chiwaya. My colleagues Hopewell Chin’ono and Jacob Ngarivhume have spent more than a month in detention while MDC Alliance Youth Organizing Secretary Godfrey Kurauone is languishing in jail.
Fellow citizens, I was charged with incitement to commit public violence as defined in section 187(1)(a) as read with section 36(1)(a) of the Code alternatively incitement to commit public violence as defined in section 187(1)(b) of the Code as read with section 36(1)(b) of the Code. Or alternatively incitement to participate in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of peace or bigotry as defined in section 187(1)(a) of the Code as read with section 37(1)(a) of the Code. The police allege that I incited people between May 2020 and 20 July 2020 to participate in public demonstrations that would cause public violence and breach of peace among people in Zimbabwe on 31st July 2020 by posting video clips with inciting messages.
As I write to you I am in the D-Section of Chikurubi Maximum Prison where death row inmates are housed. The conditions here are dire and recently some inmates tested positive for Covid-19 due to factors related to the unavailability of protective clothing and sanitizers. On 23 August, I spent the whole day in leg-irons and handcuffs and was threatened with death by Prison Officer George Mutimbanyoka.
Today, the State opposed my lawyer’s argument for bail and the hearing has been set for 9am tomorrow. Since the matter is sub judice I will not dwell much on it.
As Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go to up the mountain. And I have looked over. And I have seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!”
I would like to express my profound gratitude to my lawyers, Advocate Eric Matinenga, Jeremiah Bamhu and Harrison Nkomo for their dedication to my case. To my wife, Mai Fidel, you have been a pillar of strength. My appreciation is also extended to the MDC Alliance leadership in general and President Nelson Chamisa in particular for their solidarity. To all Zimbabweans, your outpouring support and prayers are my strength while I am in detention.
As Zimbabweans we ought to know that victory is certain. But as citizens we ought to remain united and focussed. This struggle knows no political party boundaries, it knows no religion, race, gender and age.
As 31st July Movement we seek to unite all Zimbabweans towards the unitary purpose of ensuring that we get the life and livelihoods we deserve.
Even as I am here in the hands of this brutal system, my solemn worry is how each one of you will find a decent meal tomorrow and the day after. My worry is as to how you, my brothers and sisters in the diaspora are ridiculed and made to work manual jobs, earning very little, but still have to support us back home.
It pains me that if we do not do something now, corruption and selective application of the law will carry the day. It bothers me a lot of the challenges we face today, regardless of where you are, will remain unresolved, if as Zimbabweans, take no action.
Remember, the whole point of arresting me, Jacob Ngarivhume and Hopewell Chin’ono and many others is to implant fear in the hearts and minds of you the citizens. Yet, to protest is a right under section 59 of our constitution.
Lets reason and rally together, lets unite and move our country forward. Those who will help us from outside our borders will only do so following our lead!
The People Shall Be Victorious, Vincere Caritate, Zimbabwe Para Todos .
Job Saro Wiwa Sikhala is the detained MP for Zengeza West, MDC A Vice Chairman and spokesman of 31 July Movement.