By A Correspondent- Exiled former Zanu-PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere bristled on Monday after President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesman claimed he had “appealed” to be allowed to return.
George Charamba’s claim came after two other outspoken former Zanu-PF politicians suggested that Kasukuwere was potentially on the slate of vice president Constantino Chiwenga, who is rumoured to be preparing to challenge Mnangagwa at Zanu-PF’s elective congress in October.
Charamba taunted Kasukuwere on Twitter, exposing jitters in Mnangagwa’s camp as a sitting Zanu-PF leader faces an unprecedented challenge.
Without naming Kasukuwere, Charamba wrote: “Just a simple mind’s ask. How does an aspiring presidential candidate whose hounds are already sniffing and barking for him, still appeal to his rival and his rival’s deputy for assurances to come back home for his crumbling businesses?”
Kasukuwere, asked for his reaction to Charamba’s comments, told ZimLive in a terse message: “He is mad.”
He declined to comment further.
Kasukuwere, who served in several ministerial positions under the late former president Robert Mugabe, left Zimbabwe as a military coup was in progress in November 2017. He has been living in South Africa, although he briefly returned to Zimbabwe in 2018 and was arrested but later acquitted on charges of using an undesignated exit point when he fled the country.
The former Mt Darwin MP is one of dozens of ex-Mugabe loyalists who fled the country after the coup which ended the strongman’s 37-year rule. Some are now reportedly considering a return to battle Mnangagwa.
Jim Kunaka, a former Zanu-PF politician in Harare, told a news conference last week that Mnangagwa should honour an alleged 2017 coup agreement and hand over power to Chiwenga.
Said Kunaka: “If they had agreed with Chiwenga that he would give him five years to rule, what prompted him to change today, that he refuses to give him a chance? There is no need to go for congress.
“He (Mnangagwa) must honour what he agreed with Chiwenga that he would rule for a single term. He has already created parallel structures — Varakashi, Young Women for ED, Men BelievED … Those are now people who are loyal to him and not the organisation itself.”
Former Zanu-PF youth political commissar Godfrey Tsenengamu, who was jettisoned in 2019 over a “name and shame” campaign which exposed allegedly corrupt people, including Zanu-PF benefactors, used his own press conference to sing Kasukuwere’s virtues.
“Listen to me carefully, there are only two people that are able to cause an upset and deliver Zimbabweans from where we find ourselves in. These two people are Nelson Chamisa and Saviour Kasukuwere,” Tsenengamu said.
“There is a lot of discontent, bitterness, feelings of uncertainty and insecurity in the rank and file of Zanu-PF. No-one knows what tomorrow holds for them, how do you expect people who are not sure what is going to happen to them to support someone who is wielding an axe?”
He claimed that Mnangagwa and his deputy Chiwenga were locked in a bitter factional conflict, despite public shows of unity.
“If Mnangagwa fails to manage the tribal and factional conflicts within Zanu-PF, he will fail to get 40 percent of the presidential vote. That is if he is selected as Zanu-PF’s presidential candidate for the 2023 elections.
“Mnangagwa may publicly declare that he and Chiwenga are united, and Chiwenga may do the same, but we are not fooled by these publicity stunts.
There is serious conflict between these two, and everyone in Zanu-PF is telling me that Cde, you are better off because you were chased out of Zanu-PF, and we don’t know which one to support.”