Opposition politician Job Sikhala, also known as “Wiwa,” received a two-year suspended sentence after spending a record 595 days in pre-trial detention.
The 52-year-old, known for his moniker “Wiwa,” adopted the nickname during his university days and it has since become synonymous with his political career. According to opposition MP Daniel Molokele, Sikhala admired the bravery of Ken Saro-Wiwa, which inspired his choice of nickname.
Described as “loud, outspoken, assertive, confident, and someone who always stood up to authority,” Sikhala joined the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in 1999. The MDC was the first party to challenge the ruling Zanu-PF party led by Robert Mugabe. Despite facing numerous arrests during his 25 years in opposition, Sikhala’s recent sentence is his only conviction.
He was last arrested in June 2022 for allegedly inciting public violence, which resulted in him missing the previous year’s election due to his prolonged detention. After his sentencing, Sikhala was initially informed that he would spend another night in jail before being released from Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.
However, he was abruptly asked to leave that evening, suggesting authorities’ efforts to avoid potential public celebrations upon his release. Sikhala’s confrontations with authority began during his university days, where he openly criticized the Mugabe government and its control over the university. Despite the challenges he has faced, including persecution and numerous arrests, Sikhala’s transition from campus to national politics has been seamless.
He has remained committed to his principles, representing his constituency and advocating against injustice, even in the face of ongoing legal challenges.