By Lloyd Mwanawashe
Job ‘Wiwa’ Sikhala, a prominent lawyer who has done so well in that field, human rights defender, historian and economic philosophy graduate is a mature, sober, fearless, benevolent and upright character. He was born and bred in Gutu on the 30th of October 1972, to peasant farmers in the Devuli Purchase farms.
Wiwa did his primary education at Masema Primary School where he was the best student at his school. He further went for his ZJC at Chiwara Secondary school popularly known as Vumba. This is the school where he first met our President Adv Nelson Chamisa when Wiwa was in Form 1 and Adv Chamisa in Grade 5.
Wiwa as we know him was always challenging the school authorities at every turn for the poor delivery of education at school. He was staying with his brother Nathaniel Mphisa who was a teacher at the school.
His brother asked Wiwa’s parents to transfer him to another school to avoid consistent clashes between the authorities and Wiwa. At this rural secondary school Wiwa was the best student who will tell teachers to teach children correct stuff. He would not accept teachers to feed them with wrong and misleading data.
Wiwa was transferred to Mazungunye Secondary School in Bikita. He was staying in Chief Nhema’s area in Zaka with his uncle and walk 23 kms one way to school every day. This did not despair him from becoming one of the top students at school.
Of few students who passed at Mazungunye Secondary School Wiwa was among the best. Before deciding to continue with his A level studies which he later did at Jameson High school in Kadoma, Wiwa pursued his life long dream of becoming a Pastor for the Dutch Reformed Church in Zimbabwe (RCZ).
He became the Church’s Youth leader in Gutu and went for pastoral interview at Morgenster Theological College in Masvingo. He passed the interview with 86% and became second best student at the interviews behind the late Reverend Chivhoko.
The elders’ panel asked him to come after he got married. They wanted only married men to be admitted for Pastoral training and work. He became angry as he thought he was too young and unprepared for a family to be frog marched into a marriage so early.
Again, the Church elders asked him whether he will not going to follow the route of one of his relatives the late national liberation war hero Solomon Nkomo, who left pastoral training in the early 1970s, to join the liberation struggle.
Wiwa dispelled this assertion telling the panel that he was not Solomon Nkomo but Job Sikhala. He must be judged by his own deeds and work. After having been asked to marry so as to be admitted for Pastorship Wiwa said he was not yet prepared for a family.
He asked his parents to allow him to go to A level. Because of limited financial resources of his parents who also had to carter for Wiwa’s siblings Harry, Velemina and Anna who were already in secondary school he asked to be allowed to try his lucky to do his A levels in one year. His uncle Hasman Ngwenya based in Kadoma, the shareholder at DeraSwiss Tunnery Company asked him to come to Kadoma and do his A levels at Jameson High school.
In 1994, he went and paid his examination fees when in lower Sixth. He astonished everyone by scoring 3Bs in 8 months sitting for A levels. Only two students this year passed to qualify to the University. The other one is the Dr. Steven Maya who was the lecturer in the Department of Politics and Administration at UZ.
Political Animal in Wiwa:
Wiwa grew up in Gutu South constituency which was under the late Shuvai Mahofa for a long long time. His collusion with school authorities was his defiant call at every turn that when he grew up, he want going to chase away Mai Mahofa out of Gutu and he becomes the MP. Asking everyone who grew up with him, they thought anopenga because to them the political gurus of that moment where invincible. It was a dream they thought was illusionary.
Even his parents always warned him when he was growing up that what he was repeatedly saying “zvichamuurayisa”. He would sneak away from home walking 50 kms to Rasa Mountains to meet one politician called Wurayayi Zembe who would inspire him.
The most inspirational experience is when he and his village friend Moses Marukutira sold chickens to come to Harare to welcome back Rev Ndabaningi Sithole in 1992, when he was coming from exile in the United States of America. Villagers were shocked how kids would sneak out of home to go to Harare to welcome Ndabaningi Sithole whom they only read in books at school.
Waiting to be admitted at the University of Zimbabwe, Wiwa got a teaching post at Makura Secondary School in Gutu where he taught History, Geography and Religion Studies in 1995. This is the year when Ndabaningi Sithole was alleged to have planted a claymore mine along the Road to the National Sports Stadium to blow up Robert Mugabe.
The legend at Makura Secondary school says that Wiwa brought the newspaper in the classroom crying why the claymore mine missed Mugabe. His family was ZAPU and grew up in toxed ZAPU mindset. The Headmaster of the School Jerifanos Runesu who ironical is now the Headmaster of the biggest School in Chitungwiza Zengeza 1 High School under Wiwa’s constituency is said to have called Wiwa to his office for severe questioning on Sithole’s story.
Wiwa is said to have told the Headmaster off, that he was telling students latest national news. He told the Headmaster that he must know that Makura Secondary School was only a transit zone on his way to the University, so he must respect him.
Two weeks after his admission at the University of Zimbabwe to study History and Economic History Wiwa was elected to be the Faculty representative by all Faculty students. Three months down the line, the UZ was going for Students Representative Council (SRC) elections. It was taboo for 1st year students at UZ to contest for elections. Wiwa took the challenge upon himself to challenge the tradition and barrier by throwing his name into the race.
He did put in place a team of first year colleagues to fight for the victory. Campaigns against the current SRC was hot and Wiwa at one of General meetings called for the students went and grabbed the microphone from the incumbent SRC leader and started to address students.
That was the most fiery and oration with unmitigated aggression ever witnessed at UZ that propelled Wiwa into prominence by one shot. That was the period when the fight in Nigeria against dictator Sani Abacha was at its pick and the week when Ken Saro Wiwa the human rights activist for the Ogoni people was assassinated throw being thrown into the acid.
Someone from the crowd shouted you are like Ken Saro Wiwa, after our own Wiwa launched the most blistering tirade and attack against Mugabe’s regime. Senior students at the college got astonished with the political gravitas of a first year student Job Wiwa Sikhala.
That is the day Learnmore Jongwe, a second year Law student who was bidding for the SRC Presidency discovered Wiwa. He asked Wiwa for dinner that evening so as to lobby him to give him support for his Presidential bid. Since then Learnmore Jongwe became tight friends with Wiwa.
Having put a vocal team of Mapurisa Kuzipa, Derek Charamba, Kudakwashe Zvinavashe Gava, Governor Ndoro, Charles Mutama, Kaseke and Abigail Muchecheti, Wiwa stunned everyone by breaking the barrier that 1st year students can not be elected into the leadership of students.
He won to be the Secretary for Information and Publicity and Spokesman of the UZ. In the same year, the first congress to revive ZINASU was hosted at UZ and Wiwa again defiantly contested to be its Secretary for Information and Publicity and won overwhelming against the tide of those who were afraid of his spreading influence in the students movement.
Yes, you can try to discredit Wiwa but he has traits that you will never take away from him. The man is a fighter against all odds. He is fearless and abhors corruption, patronage and oppression. He is a man who respects you if you respect him. If you don’t respect him, my knowledge of him is that he doesn’t take a damn about you.
Student politics has never been the same again since the rising to power of Learnmore Jongwe as President, Daniel Molokela Tsiye(Fortune Mguni), as Vice President, Moffat Chikuni as Secretary General. Wiwa as Secretary for Information and Publicity. Wiwa led series of earthquake demonstrations at UZ and all other Universities and Colleges throughout the country.
At the ZINASU Congress Learnmore Jongwe was elected President, Daniel Molokela Tsiye Vice President, Charlton Hwende Secretary General and Wiwa Secretary for Information and Publicity. In his second year at the University Wiwa was elevated and elected Secretary General when Daniel Molokela was his President and Tafadzwa Musekiwa his Vice President.
This is the year when President Adv Chamisa was elected Secretary General of ZINASU. This crop of student leaders led a demonstration that led to the closure of the University of Zimbabwe and Harare Polytechnic for a year. Wiwa the fighter was at the forefront of these demonstrations.
It is during this period that our late iconic leader President Morgan Tsvangirai discovered the new crop of student leaders. He discovered President Adv Nelson Chamisa, Wiwa, Learnmore Jongwe, Tafadzwa Musekiwa, Daniel Molokela Tsiye and settled to launch a political party to challenge the ZANU PF hegemony in our politics. Since 1997 pre launch of the MDC in 1999, those student leaders were already working hand in gloves with the ZCTU to put structures in place to form a party to challenge ZANU PF.
Wiwa together with President Adv Nelson Chamisa, Learnmore Jongwe and Tafadzwa Musekiwa were seconded by the students movement to represent them during the formative stages of the party. They became the integral part of the MDC from the beginning. They were the pillars at the Working Peoples’ Convention at the Women’s Beareau in Hillside in February 1998.
At the first Congress at the Aquatic Complex in Chitungwiza Wiwa was elected into the National Executive as the Secretary for Defense and Security and the intelligence supremo at the young age of 25 together with his colleagues Advocate Nelson Chamisa, National Youth Chairman, Learnmore Jongwe Sec For Information and Publicity and Tafadzwa Musekiwa.
In the year 2000, Wiwa was elected as the Member of Parliament for St. Mary’s and he became one of the most outstanding MPs of the party in Parliament. He raised very important and pertinent issues affecting his constituency and the country as the whole in Parliament. He was a solid Parliamentarian who was vocal and critical about the state of affairs.
During his tenure as an MP Wiwa was arrested 62 times alleged of every offense under the sun. On 13th January 2003, Wiwa together with his lawyer Gabriel Shumba Marechera, Charles Mutama and his close buddie Taurai Magaya was arrested and severely tortured at the Kabri Barracks for allegedly training a military wing to fight ZANU PF by Major General Mzilikazi who was head of military intelligence then and his entire barrack.
So solid and strong Wiwa is, he defied going into exile because of fear. He insisted that if Mugabe wants to kill him he can go ahead. The blood of the matyrs shall water the tree of freedom.
Wiwa is currently the Member of Parliament for Zengeza West. He has been very critical of many issues in Parliament. He is raising very pertinent and important national issues in the House. Giving credit where it is due Wiwa since he qualified as a lawyer has been a pillar standing for our party members. He has shown it on the aftermath of the 14th January crackdown by the Mnangagwa regime.
He braved to go into the Police camps where our people were detained when many lawyers were afraid to break police camps where our people were being tortured under the guard of soldiers. He went and represented them in Courts and get all acquitted. Wiwa represented 186 of our cadres. They were all acquitted after he tenacious fought in Court. What a National Vice Chairman we will have as a party. Wiwa is the man ladies and gentlemen.
He represented many of our MPs who are facing various spurious charges in Courts. And they are all getting acquitted. He does his work with passion in silence but with bountiful results.
Vice Chairman needs a mature, team building and patient leader. He is currently the National Executive member who does not fight anyone or unnecessarily cross other people’s paths.
Wiwa is the man for Vice Chairman. Lets rally behind him.
Let love leads. And victory is for the people.