I am as iconic as Nelson Mandela, says Sikhala

Firebrand politician launches scathing attack at Tshabangu lawyer Lewis Uriri

By Staff Reporter

Freed Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) politician Job Sikhala says he has reached iconic status almost similar to that of late anti-apartheid stalwart and South Africa’s first black president Nelson Mandela in scathing remarks targeted at top lawyer Lewis Uriri’s unwelcome greeting.

Mandela, arguably the world’s most famous political prisoner of a generation, was jailed 27 years at Robben Island for his brave and relentless opposition of black oppression by the erstwhile apartheid government in South Africa.

Sikhala, on his part, has been arrested more than 60 times without any conviction by the Zanu PF led government with his last experience in 2022 leading to nearly 600 days of continuous jail time.

The court Tuesday handed the firebrand politician a wholly suspended two-year sentence after last week’s conviction for inciting public violence.

Among the first people who greeted him following his release was Uriri, a lawyer who was hired by self-styled CCC interim secretary general Sengezo Tshabangu when the latter was challenged for ordering recalls on dozens of elected party representatives in parliament and councils.

Sikhala found everything sinister about Uriri’s greeting.

“The problem which many people have is that when you become an icon, even the worst sell-outs would want to have the shake of your hand,” he told journalists during an interview.

“If you remember when Nelson Mandela left Robben Island, the most sell-out of all time, Mongosutu Gatsha Buthelezi craved to shake the hand of Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela did not turn his hand back, but he just stretched his hand and greeted him.

“So you should also expect people who are involved in issues that have raised a lot of questions, anxiety and also a lot of crises in the nation would come and greet you.

“They would try and associate themselves with the conscience of the people so that they might also arrogate to themselves the iconic nature of the person they are greeting.

“I read it from that angle that these people wanted to cleanse their own mess by coming to me.”

Sikhala said he does not know Uriri, adding that he “is a man of the people; when they come to greet you, you accept their hands.

“I am a very difficult character; that’s why their masters had to take me in prison for 2 years.”

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