Sikhala re-joins Tsvangirai "to strengthen opposition

Former MDC- 99 leader, Job Sikhala, says he decided to rejoin MDC-T so as to strengthen the opposition against Zanu (PF), as Morgan Tsvangirai welcomed him back to the fold.

Former MDC- 99 leader, Job Sikhala
Former MDC- 99 leader, Job Sikhala

Sikhala, together with another MDC founding member, Joubert Mudzumwe, today held a press conference at Harvest House, the MDC-T headquarters in Harare, where Morgan Tsvangirai, National Organising Secretary, Nelson Chamisa and others loyal to the party boss were present.

Sikhala told The Zimbabwean that he decided to join Tsvangirai after realising the need to put up a united front against President Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF).

Said Sikhala: "MDC- 99 realised that we should end this political bickering and put up a united front against Mugabe, come 2018 (when the next elections will be held)".

He said because the majority of Zimbabweans placed their hope in the opposition to "take them to the promised land", it was important for opposition party leaders to prioritise unity among themselves.

Sikhala said he had forgiven the MDC- T for its past political blunders, which caused a split in 2005.

That year, Tsvangirai imposed his own position on the majority of top members of the united MDC over the re-introduction of the Senate, leading to a breakaway movement led by Welshman Ncube who was then the Secretary General.

He said: "One of the most prominent characteristic of great statesmen is the ability to forgive. The late great South African icon, Nelson Mandela, was able to forgive although so many atrocities had been committed against his kith and kin."

Sikhala later broke away from the Ncube faction, then led by Arthur Mutambara, accusing the leadership of intolerance.

"We are unstoppable and we are taking the MDC back to the 1999 era and we are saying 2018, here we come as a united front," he said.

He said MDC- 99 realised the need to bury their political differences and work towards achieving change.

Commenting on which position he was aspiring to take, Sikhala said he had no plans for that as yet because "positions are everywhere and the focus is not there as yet but on making sure that the party is reinvigorated to emerge a strong front come 2018".

He claimed he never joined the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) that transformed into a political party last year, saying his union with the Lovemore Madhuku led formation was a mere alliance.

In November 2013, Sikhala announced that his party had been disbanded and merged with Madhuku's NCA to form "one large political party."

Welcoming Sikhala and Mudzumwe back, Tsvangirai said opposition leaders should put up a unified front to ensure that the opposition remained 'bigger, better and more formidable'.

"Through this homecoming by our colleagues in the struggle, we confound sceptics and put to shame the perception of MDC as a party in turmoil and a movement in disintegration," said Tsvangirai.

"Some have mistaken the robust debate in this party as a sign of disintegration, but I want to assure you that we continue working towards achieving unity so that we become a credible alternative."

Of late his party has been rocked by infighting that has seen the current Secretary General, Tendai Biti, publicly condemn his faction for suspending the Deputy Treasurer, Elton Mangoma who has called for leadership change.

"Our struggle is not about personalities but a broad front united in the objective of achieving democratic change in our lifetime. This is a demonstration of our sincerity to unity and to the big tent approach in our struggle for democracy," he said.

"The nation needs a united front to refine the struggle and to demand true national leadership that can begin to address the multi-layered crisis facing this nation."

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