EXILED former cabinet minister, Saviour Kasukuwere says the #TysonWabantu movement unveiled last week was far from being a political party the ex-Zanu PF top official was forming.
Speaking in an interview with South Africa’s television station, SABC on Wednesday evening, Kasukuwere, affectionately called Tyson by his followers, said he was also caught by surprise.
A group of followers of the ex-legislator last week launched their TysonWabantu movement in Bulawayo with signs the once influential politician was gearing himself for a surprise comeback to Zimbabwean politics.
“This is a development which caught me by surprise, these are citizens of our country, some in the diaspora who feel that there is need to come together to persuade each other and say we need Kasukuwere to come back into leadership,” Kasukuwere said.
“In fact, when I looked at myself, I am somebody who has been in exile.
“I thought am now in the dust bin, but the people had different views and I think it’s something one has to look at and say here is an opportunity to lead.”
The former ruling party national political commissar said the movement was far from being a Zanu PF breakaway group.
“The movement from what I understand from the founders, is cutting across the political divide, (people) who are saying ‘how do we come together in the best interest of our country’,” he said.
“MDC, Zanu PF and various groups of people have the view that the division in our country needs to healed at some point.
“As a nation, there should be leadership that bring us together in spite of what may have happened but there must be that commitment to say we are going to be moving in one direction like what happened in the past.”
He added, “In Zimbabwe and in South Africa, after independence with President (Nelson) Mandela, President (Robert) Mugabe calling for unity, for reconciliation that was much more difficult, a system that was designed to eliminate the black population and they (white former rulers) stopped them (blacks) from assuming leadership of their country but there was that ability to bring people together in the interest of progress and development.”
The so-called “Tyson Wabantu Movement” last week conducted a mobilisation road show in the second largest city.
Kasukuwere, kingpin in the once powerful Zanu PF G40 faction, was first forced to skip the country when fierce party rival and now President Emmerson Mnangagwa muscled his way to the top job via a military coup November 2017.
His was back in the country after six months away but was forced to return into exile when corruption allegations were brought against him. He was later cleared of the alleged offences.
He denied he was a fugitive from justice but was living outside for fear of political persecution.
“I can’t go back to a house which was sprayed by bullets and no investigation had been done to this day,” he said.
Meanwhile, Zanu PF national political commissar, Victor Matemadanda has described Kasukuwere as a baby whose movement had no capacity to dislodge Zanu PF.
“All of a sudden you find babies like Kasukuwere being introduced and referred to as veterans of the struggle. How can they be veterans of the struggle while only 45 years old?” Matemadanda told a Zanu PF provincial meeting in Mashonaland West at the weekend.
Kasukuwere hit back saying: “It was a tragedy that Matemadanda, a senior official in the governing party was focusing on trivia while the country was burning.”
“At least I was not a taxi driver like him while others were fighting in the liberation struggle. He must not lie to us. Just because he has an ugly face it doesn’t mean he went to war,” Kasukuwere fumed.
“He wants to use his ugly face kuvhundutsira vanhu (to scare people). He must tell people who he went to war with, who he reported to and what he did during the war. In any case, there is no need for trivia when the people are suffering like this,” the former Local Government minister said.
“We have a serious challenge on our hands. The health sector is in a crisis, people are dying and the country is on its knees. We can’t bury our heads in the sand and start focusing on issues that do not help the people.
“We need to focus on real issues on the ground and how to save the people from the crisis.”