Former Higher Education deputy minister Godfrey Gandawa has for the first time spoken out on why he is on the run, claiming he had received credible information to the effect that state security agents wanted to harm him in the run-up to the July 30 elections.
A warrant of arrest was issued against Gandawa in November last year after he failed to appear before High Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi for trial in a case in which he is facing 14 counts of defrauding Zimdef of over $400 000.
In an exclusive interview from an undisclosed location, Gandawa said he had to sleep in the mountains after he was tipped off that his Magunje homestead would be raided a few days before the July 30 elections.
Gandawa, who contested the Magunje seat as an independent candidate, said he had no option but to flee after receiving information that there were people out to harm him.
‘‘I got a tip-off from one of the Military Intelligence Department (MID) operatives who was part of the team assigned to assassinate me. My source told me not to sleep at home that day since there were five men from state security who were going to kill me between 1am and 2am,” he said.
He said he then decided to hide in the nearby mountain where he could see whatever happened at his homestead.
“I did this to ascertain if the raid was going to happen or if it was just a threat to disturb my campaign since I was doing well on the ground,” he said.
Gandawa’s last campaign message was more visible on social media where he called on the electorate to dump Zanu-PF.
The former Zanu-PF Magunje MP whose boss at the Higher and Tertiary Education ministry, Jonathan Moyo, is also on the run following the November 2017 coup, said while on the mountain, he indeed saw state security agents raid his rural home and watched them as they abducted his mother, younger brother and two other relatives.
He said this forced him to run away during that night after his fears were confirmed.
Gandawa added that his family members were not safe even now as they were frequently harassed by suspected state security agents.
‘‘My property is being vandalised by Zanu-PF militants. I can’t say I am safe since I have been in hiding for over six months now,” he said.
Gandawa said there was no change in Zimbabwe as everything in the country was being militarised.
“One cannot exercise their democratic right freely and that is shameful after 39 years of self-rule. There is no respect for human and property rights because currently Zanu-PF supporters are vandalising my properties disregarding the rule of law,” he said.
“Even if you make a police report, no action is taken because the whole system is captured. Zimbabwe is still to mature politically because at the moment the country does not have institutions but a conflated system, where if you are not Zanu-PF, you are an enemy.”
Gandawa was, however, hopeful that he would one day get the chance to develop Hurungwe.
— The Standard