BY NQOBANI NDLOVU/METHEMBE SIBANDA
Exiled former cabinet minister Saviour Kasukuwere last week declared himself a thorn in the flesh of Zanu PF and dared President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his government to arrest him.
Kasukuwere told The Standard in an interview that Zanu PF bigwigs were scared of his imminent return to the party and would not dare touch him.
When Kasukuwere made a statement last week to the effect that he was preparing a comeback to Zanu PF and that he was ready to make “difficult” decisions to “save Zanu PF” and to stop all injustices against his colleagues in exile, the party spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa released an angry statement.
Kasukuwere and other members of the G40 faction led by former First Lady Grace Mugabe were forced to flee the country after the November 2017 military coup that toppled the late ex-president Robert Mugabe.
Some G40 members including former minister Ignatius Chombo have been dragged to court facing various charges.
Kasukuwere has been linked to a plot to challenge Mnangagwa in the 2023 general elections, a move that has heavily polarised ruling party structures, with some opposed to Mnangagwa’s rule seemingly warming up to this development.
Zanu PF has also accused Kasukuwere of being the brains behind the High Court application by party activist Sybeth Musengezi challenging Mnangagwa’s 2017 ascendancy to power.
In an interview on Friday, Kasukuwere said Mutsvangwa’s angry statement exposed the panic among the rank and file of the party over his return to take control of Zanu PF.
“Zanu PF has a way of evolving since its formation in 1963. The party has survived worse challenges including armed rebellions such as the Nhari rebellion but the party managed to deliver independence regardless of its challenges,” Kasukuwere said.
“I believe Zanu PF will do what Zanu PF does to survive internal and external threat. Mutsvangwa’s response shows that the Politburo and those who claim to be leaders of the party are already engaged and feeling the heat.
“Arrest is not a thing to be feared of if you are a revolutionary who is standing for what you believe in and if you have the mandate from the people. Mnangagwa was arrested, Mugabe, Joshua Nkomo and the late Nelson Mandela and others…
“If anything, should Kasukuwere be arrested then it would confirm beyond doubt what we have been saying all along that Mnangagwa is afraid of losing power to the most effective Political Commissar the party has ever known after Border Gezi.”
Kasukuwere was the Zanu PF political commissar during the 2017 coup. Zanu PF is using mostly 2014 party structures that worked with Kasukuwere as the commissar. Reports have said party structures opposed to Mnangagwa and are currently backing his deputy Constantino Chiwenga to take over, are backing Kasukuwere.
Last week, ex-members of the notorious national youth service pledged loyalty to Kasukuwere.
“We know his (Mutsvangwa) full history, he must be aware that unlike him, Kasukuwere is by far a better leader who remains unmatched when it comes to issues of Zimbabwe development programmers and politics in general,” Zimbabwe National Youth Service (NYS) graduates association secretary general Kudakwashe Ndavara said on Wednesday.
“If Kasukuwere feels he can make things change for the betterment of Zimbabwe and its people, no one should stop him out. We should instead embrace his ideas. As an association speaking with one voice, we are ready to decisively defend our Saviour Kasukuwere.”
The NYS was launched by the late Youth minister Border Gezi in 2001. But Zanu PF was later accused of turning the graduates into a paramilitary youth militia used to harass opposition political opponents.
Zanu PF director for Information Tafadzwa Mugwadi said Kasukuwere and former NYS members were wasting their time.
“These headless G40 elements need to be reminded that the last man to resurrect from the dead was Jesus Christ and they are not his brothers,” Mugwadi said.
“As such Zanu PF and Mutsvangwa in particular have no time for desktop activists outside Zanu PF.”