Saviour Kasukuwere vowed to take the fight to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ruling Zanu PF party on Friday after prosecutors were given the greenlight to sell a property he put down as surety for his bail.
Kasukuwere, who is facing corruption charges, has failed to attend court for the beginning of his trial and is now believed to be back in exile.
Harare regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya granted an application by prosecutors to forfeit a RTGS$250,000 “holiday home” in Nyanga owned by the former Local Government minister.
Kasukuwere, who last attended court when he applied for the release of his passport to enable him to receive medical attention in Johannesburg, said his prosecution and attempts to seize his property were political.
“We will certainly go to the High Court,” he said on Twitter, signalling that he would be appealing the forfeiture order.
The former Zanu PF political commissar fled Zimbabwe in November 2017 when soldiers peppered his home with automatic rifle bullets during a military coup that ousted former President Robert Mugabe.
Believing that the situation had calmed, he returned home in May 2018 saying he had retired from politics and would focus on his businesses and tender to his farm.
He was charged with immigration offences for using an undesignated exit when he fled the military in 2017, but a magistrate dismissed the charges, ruling that Kasukuwere’s life was in danger.
Prosecutors later charged him with criminal abuse of office over housing stands he allegedly allocated to Shuvai Gumbochuma, the elder sister of former first lady Grace Mugabe, while he was Local Government minister.
He was allowed to leave Zimbabwe in January after the court was shown medical documents proving that the former minister needed to undergo a medical procedure in Johannesburg.
Kasukuwere, who had refrained on commenting on political developments in Zimbabwe, seemingly fearing he would offend the new regime in Harare, appears to have thought better of returning home, leading the court to find him in wilful default.
“This is a very good invitation back into politics. Handei tione! (Bring it on!),” Kasukuwere said on Twitter, after learning of the court outcome.
He continued: “I said it will be rough, but it’s gonna be rougher but thereafter we will have a ZW we all want. This monopoly and idiocy shall be challenged. With or without, 2023 is coming. Tatamba zvakwana! (The time for games is over!)
“Whilst silence is golden, there comes a time when your enemies think you are enjoying it. Abuse of authority and power has limits. God Bless ZW. #itsmycountrytoo!”
Whilst silence is golden, there comes a time when your enemies think you are enjoying it.Abuse of authority and power has limits.God Bless ZW🇿🇼#itsmycountrytoo!
— Saviour Kasukuwere (@Hon_Kasukuwere) March 15, 2019
Kasukuwere’s cousin, the former Mashonaland Central Zanu PF chairman Dickson Mafios, was jailed for four years in February after being convicted of inciting violence over January 14 fuel protests that rocked Zimbabwe. He maintained his innocence, claiming political persecution. He is appealing the conviction and sentence at the High Court.
Kasukuwere rejoins over a dozen former Mugabe regime loyalists who are scattered around the world among them former police chief Augustine Chihuri and former ministers Patrick Zhuwao, Jonathan Moyo, Godfrey Gandawa and Walter Mzembi.
Gandawa and Mzembi have pending corruption cases before the courts but both skipped bail before their trials were concluded.