via Not even jail can stop me: Jabulani – DailyNews Live 13 July 2015
HARARE – Fearless former war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda said yesterday that he is not afraid of going to prison to defend his beliefs and constitutional rights against President Robert Mugabe’s government.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily News yesterday, Sibanda said Zimbabweans owed it to themselves to remove Mugabe and Zanu PF from power as life was getting harder and rougher for ordinary citizens.
He also reiterated the clarion call that he made at Itai Dzamara’s prayer meeting at the weekend where he encouraged long-suffering Zimbabweans to launch what he called “Operation Kubvisa zvisina basa (Shona for getting rid of rubbish)”.
The outspoken Sibanda, who was arrested last November after opposing what he described as a “bedroom coup” as Mugabe’s wife Grace became increasingly more influential in Zanu PF, said at the Dzamara rally on Saturday that opposition leaders needed to work together to remove the nonagenarian and Zanu PF from power.
Sibanda was last year charged under Section 33 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act which criminalises undermining the authority of the president — in connection with his bedroom coup jibe against Grace and Mugabe.
He was also one of the first high-profile casualties of the vicious purge of top officials in Zanu PF who were deemed to be too close to former Vice President Joice Mujuru. Mugabe also personally attacked him during a rally at the Zanu PF headquarters in Harare late last year saying, “Jabulani speaks like he is possessed by the devil … I heard he wants to go to war against me. So with his war veterans he wants to fight me with my soldiers? I will have to see when he is planning it”.
Apart from being expelled from Zanu PF, Sibanda was also deposed as war veterans leader — decisions that were taken unilaterally without him facing disciplinary processes.
In his interview with the Daily News yesterday, he was emphatic that real democracy in Zimbabwe would have to come from the people themselves, which was why citizens needed to act against Zanu PF’s misrule.
“I am saying yes, sometimes there is a lot to be afraid of but sometimes it is better to take the risk now than to compel the next generation to move in the same problem. Yes, we can be arrested, but in our country you don’t need to be arrested because already circumstances are torturous to the people.
“If in your own party that was founded on the principles of democracy, principles of fighting for freedom, principles of armed struggle, you cannot be listened to, you are not even afforded a hearing at your own party, then that means you are not free to express your views in that party.
“And the same party is in government, the same people in your disciplinary committee are the same people running the judiciary in your own country, then don’t ask me whether I am afraid,” Sibanda charged, adding that people could remove Mugabe and Zanu PF from power constitutionally if they tried hard enough.
“We want kubvisa zvisina basa, to remove them constitutionally through elections. I was arrested before you were born. Mugabe was arrested but he kept on fighting for the liberation of Zimbabweans and I am sure he will protect those who are fighting for what he fought for.
“The system existing in our country does not represent the will of the people. The will of the people is very simple, give us the right to vote. You don’t find it in Zanu PF. Give us the right to debate, you don’t find it in Zanu PF.
“Give us the fruits of liberation and they are not there. The fruit of the liberation struggle is to be able to choose our leaders and it has been eaten by zvipfukuto (Weevils) in our party,” Sibanda said.
The tough-talking war veteran added, “As I know him, Mugabe will protect the rights of the people but if he prefers to listen to people that did not sacrifice for the generation to come and work with them against those who sacrificed for the country, that one we leave it to God”.
Turning to the ongoing war against vendors, Sibanda said the government should first provide employment for Zimbabweans before removing the traders from the streets.
He also bemoaned the fact that Zimbabwe had in its 35 years of self rule failed to advance itself technologically.
“I was in Harare and I saw a peanut butter-making machine that was created at the University of Zimbabwe. I don’t know how many professors we have got there but this is the age of technology. There are cars that automatically park themselves today. We have drones, pilot-less planes. This is the age of technology.
“But now what I saw from the UZ is equivalent to a shaduf (irrigation tool) which existed almost 4 000 years ago not in Europe or Asia but in North Africa — Egypt to be precise. So we are 3 000 years behind Egypt,” he said.