ZIMBABWE cannot afford another five years of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s misrule characterised by toxic political differences, a failed economy and social strife, former Zanu PF stalwart Saviour Kasukuwere said on Monday.
In a statement to officially announce plans to submit his papers to the nomination court sitting tomorrow, Kasukuwere, commonly known as Tyson in Zanu PF circles, said once elected, he would seek to unite the politically-fractured country through an “Intra Zimbabwe Dialogue” process that is beyond politics.
In a long letter addressed to Zimbabweans, the former Zanu PF commissar said his fight was against fear and in pursuit of renewed hope for the country.
“My decision to stand as an independent candidate, painful as it is, arises out of two missed opportunities,” Kasukuwere said.
“Both in December 2017 and September 2022, our party congress failed to allow fair competition for the presidency.
“As a result, it failed to unite the membership, forgive the past, and reconcile for the future of our glorious revolution.
“Unfortunately, to this day, notwithstanding a promise to let ‘bygones be bygones’ post-November 2017 and a pledge to ‘restore the legacy’ and values of our liberation movement, we continue to witness exclusionary politics; persecution of members who loyally served the people, the party, the government, and the late founding President Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe.”
He added: “Our position was and remains clear that without intimidation and abuse of State institutions, Cde Mnangagwa could never have won and cannot win any leadership position in a fair and open political process.”
Kasukuwere, who is exiled in South Africa, said all Zimbabweans had given Mnangagwa and Zanu PF the space to govern after the coup, but he squandered the goodwill and “dismally” failed to live up to his promises.
The former Local Government minister said Mnangagwa had failed to deliver on his promises of healthcare for all, electricity, youth jobs, educational reforms, a modern railway system, mechanise, modernise and grow the economy; institute security sector reforms that foster international re-engagement.
“The question for the party is whether Cde Mnangagwa must be allowed to fail for another five years at the expense of the people of Zimbabwe?
“The country cannot afford another five years of toxic political differences, a failed economy, and social strife.
“It is time to settle this by throwing this matter back to the people through this election for them to make a choice between fear and hope,” he said.
Kasukuwere also said Mnangagwa’s conduct as Zanu PF leader and State President was averse to the core values of the liberation movement of inclusive, open, and transparent politics.
“His tenure and leadership style so far have left our party structures — the main wing, the women’s league, and the youth league — badly exposed and threatened by corrupt, foreign, hero-worshipping ‘forED’ structures, which undermine elected national, provincial and district leaders and are disrespectful to our traditional leaders,” he charged.
He said the “forED dodgy groups” had unlimited access to Mnangagwa and resources while the party structures remained unfunded.
“Cde Mnangagwa must give the party a chance to choose between the future and the past, between hope and fear,” he said.
Kasukuwere said it was ironic that one of the issues raised to justify Mnangagwa’s attack on the late Mugabe was that the latter was surrounded by criminals.
“Ironically, the Gold Mafia exposé, the arrest of public figures at the airport over gold smuggling, the lavish lifestyles of his family, some of whom have never worked a day in their lives, shows that persons very close to Cde Mnangagwa engage in various illicit businesses,” he said.
“The allegations that his family and associates have preferential access to foreign currency at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe have never been challenged or disproved.
“It is known that from Sandawana (Mberengwa) to Makaha (Mutoko) his family has taken over gold mining, including having shares in government companies.”
He said government was silent on diamond exports which are unaccounted for and that Mnangagwa’s family had taken over imports distribution, and sale of fuel.
“You are all aware that his family and associates are involved in almost all the multi-billion-dollar Belarus deals,” Kasukuwere said.
“You have seen the obscenity of their sudden wealth, yet they argued that President Mugabe was surrounded by criminals.
“Despite a ban on export of lithium, you are aware that persons surrounding Cde Mnangagwa are in possession of export permits and that they are exporting it without any money (going) to the Treasury.
“The looting from the State must stop.”
He also said the reversal of the indigenisation process and landmark land reform process by returning vast tracts of land to farmers connected to Mnangagwa was another sign of the President’s unpreparedness to respect the party structures and resolutions.
“Such cardinal decisions and resolutions adopted at congress cannot be reversed at the whims and caprices of an individual no matter their designation,” he said.
“Zanu PF is not his personal property.
“It has become common cause that once gold and other precious minerals are discovered, the Mnangagwa associates and family move in to claim the deposits ahead of others.”
Kasukuwere said it was clear that the Zimbabwe dollar had lost value and continued on a free-fall.
He said Zimbabweans were suffering while the Mnangagwa administration was trying to run the economy through propaganda.
“Cde Mnangagwa selectively rewards the elite of the public service, yet the generality of the civil service is wallowing in abject poverty despite their spirited loyalty and patriotism,” the Mugabe loyalist said.
“No attempt has been made to explain why Cde Mnangagwa can buy over 800 campaign vehicles, but cannot provide ambulances, cancer machines at our referral hospitals.
“This speaks to his indifference to the suffering of Zimbabweans.”
Kasukuwere called for the return to the values of the liberation struggle that included guaranteeing the “right of our people to choose their own leaders” — in and outside Zanu PF.
“The respite our people felt politically, socially, and economically during the Government of National Unity period of 2009-13 should be a permanent experience borne out of an inclusive governance culture, ushered in by a generational consensus.
“Zimbabweans must find each other through an Intra Zimbabwe Dialogue process beyond the politics of conquest predicated by our highly competitive and often toxic and disputed electoral politics,” he said.
Kasukuwere said he intended to lead or “be an integral part of this constructive engagement process beyond this bid for the highest office.”
He also called for the renewal of Zimbabwe’s leadership while enshrining a new vision and aspirations to restore the country’s glory.
“Zimbabwe must take its place amongst the world’s community of nations and as a responsible member of the international community.
“We need to implement and uphold the Constitution and respect the rights of all citizens,” he said.
Calling for reconciliation, Kasukuwere said as Zimbabweans, we should “put our past differences aside and embrace one another while acknowledging our failures and repair the damage that has been caused internally and externally”.
“We must ensure a united approach to combat the twin evils of sanctions and corruption,” he said.
“The Gukurahundi question requires a permanent resolution, and peaceful closure, as with other past conflicts in our history,” he said.
Kasukuwere also called for reforms of Zimbabwe’s national institutions to deliver and benefit the majority in a transparent and accountable manner.
“We are called upon to strengthen institutions in line with the Constitution and in alignment with the Pan-African and international standards. Abuse of national institutions must stop,” he said.
Kasukuwere also said the time had come to revive Zimbabwe in an inclusive economic renaissance that incorporated all and left no one behind.
“We must empower the majority to ensure that everyone plays their part as agents of development. Zimbabweans should be at the core of the exploitation of national resources and economic growth. Zimbabwe belongs to all of us,” he said.
Kasukuwere said Zimbabwe had a rich heritage of builders manifest in the ancient city of Great Zimbabwe.
“Let’s ignite the full potential of Zimbabweans to participate in the infrastructural revolution that lies ahead of us,” he said.
Kasukuwere recently announced that he would be challenging Mnangagwa in the presidential race on August 23 this year.
The exiled former Mt Darwin MP was also said to be canvassing for support from within the ruling party.
Kasukuwere, a former Central Intelligence Organisation operative, rose to prominence after landing key posts in government and the ruling party.
He served in the Zanu PF politburo and as a Cabinet minister before Zanu PF imploded at the height of the race to succeed Mugabe.
He fled to exile after the coup, returned briefly in January 2018 where he was arrested on corruption charges, which were later dismissed by a Harare court and that saw him leaving the country again.
In October 2020, government also sought Kasukuwere’s extradition from South Africa after issuing a warrant for his arrest, which was dismissed as political interference by Interpol.