FORMER Public Services, Labour and Social Welfare minister Patrick Zhuwao is quitting politics and does not intend to return home soon after former president Robert Mugabe was toppled last month.
Zhuwao, who is Mugabe’s nephew, said he had no regrets serving under the 93-year-old ruler who was forced to resign by the military on November 21.
“I am proud to have served under President Robert Mugabe,” he said in an interview from South Africa at an undisclosed location.
“I was loyal to him during his tenure as president and I even today I am still loyal to him, much than loyalty I could have exhibited as his nephew,” Zhuwao added.
“From a personal point of view, I am grateful to those who stood by Mugabe.
“My political life existed for the duration of President Mugabe’s tenure.
“The options that were there politically for me was to become disloyal to him and that to me was not acceptable.
“The decision by him to accept to be forced out was largely informed by his desire not to see the people of Zimbabwe go into a period of turbulence.
“My appeal to those that keep our faith, religious people, is for them to pray for those who are in power to be humane and not persecute people.”
Zhuwao, a son of Mugabe’s late sister Sabina, said his safety was not guaranteed if he returned to Zimbabwe. He said workers at his farm outside Harare had been attacked during the army’s operation.
“I am not coming,” he said. “When one looks at attacks launched on my farm and farm workers who were frog-marched and severely beaten just for working for me, it is enough evidence that my safety is not guaranteed. My farm was looted too.
“People can say I ran away, yes I did. It’s better than to wait to be killed.”
Meanwhile, Zhuwao claimed Zimbabweans will miss his uncle despite thousands of people taking to the streets during his last days as they demanded his resignation.
“If you look at the current political leadership, it’s like having gone through a period under a leader who was meticulous and principled and then serving under anybody else will soil my track record,” he said.
“I also find it rather awkward for some leaders who want to blame President Mugabe yet when decisions were made, they were part of the collective.”
He scoffed at Mnangagwa’s three-month amnesty for Zimbabweans that externalised money and assets to return the loot.
“I read the statement and said to myself is this the president who claimed to have studied law,” he said.
“He must have given legal provisions to support his order. I expect him to go back to law and see if his order is by any chance supported.
“However, what I know is that there is money that was looted through diamonds.
“This is one area where huge sums of money were being externalised. They must come clean on that.”