Harare – Under fire Local Government minister and Zanu PF national political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, says it’s now time to speak openly about the deadly tribal, factional and succession wars ravaging the ruling party.
Addressing a Zanu PF rally in the Harare dormitory town of Epworth yesterday, Kasukuwere also made the startling claim that some ruling party bigwigs who are angling to take over from President Robert Mugabe wished death upon the increasingly frail nonagenarian.
Party insiders at the rally told the Daily News that the shocking claim was “the beginning of the public outing of Team Lacoste”, the Zanu PF faction that is rallying behind Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s mooted presidential aspirations.
“Despite the fact that people voted for …Mugabe in 2013 and the party declared that he is our 2018 candidate … there are some among us who are now losing sleep each time mudhara (Mugabe) goes out of the country inquiring whether he is still alive or not.
“Is that politics to wish others dead so that you can assume power? Isn’t it that you have to work for the people to get to the top?” Kasukuwere asked cryptically.
“However, he is not dying anytime soon. He will be there even to bury some of you and some of us will not be moved from the position that we have taken to let him rule forever,” he added.
With Mugabe now visibly frail due to old age, and his health a subject of much frenzied speculation within the warring Zanu PF, each holiday or trip abroad that he has taken over the past few years has appeared to fuel the ruling party’s worsening succession wars, amid claims by the Generation 40 group — which rabidly opposes Mnangagwa — that Team Lacoste is working feverishly to stampede the nonagenarian out of power.
Turning to the damning allegations that he has engaged in corrupt land deals involving the issuance of residential stands to Zanu PF youths, Kasukuwere also accused his foes of using the land issue and abusing State institutions to fight him.
He also claimed that he was being persecuted for blocking some unnamed Zanu PF bigwigs from “their usual practice of taking land belonging to the State and selling it illegally”.
“There are those who don’t want to see order in Harare because they have been stealing from the people. They must go to hell because we are not going to be intimidated.
“I came to politics when I was already a millionaire and I have not taken anything from the party and the government.
“I will face my accusers head-on. Let those who are saying and writing what they want do so. But be warned, I am ready for you,” Kasukuwere said.
“Now they are using State institutions such as the police and Zacc (the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission) to fight a political war. But we know what you are up to. I am in politics for life, not for the short term. This is our game.
“You hear someone saying Kasukuwere stole land when we know they are the biggest thieves. Get away! We are not afraid of you.
“But don’t worry about us. We are political animals. We know some of them are civil servants who have taken to writing newspaper stories. Let them be warned that they have no role in politics. They must write media statements and if they have nothing to write, they must sing.
“They think we are easy targets but politics is rough. We are tough tacklers as well and when the time comes we will be tackling each other nicely,” he said to applause.
Kasukuwere also suggested that Mnangagwa’s allies had sabotaged Zanu PF in the Norton by-election which was stunningly won by independent candidate Temba Mliswa.
“They (Team Lacoste) did what they did in Norton vachirovera bhora musango (they sabotaged Zanu PF), only to blame me saying I rigged the primary elections. How is that so?
“I am a national political commissar and how do I interfere with the selection of candidates? People made their choice and you sabotaged them and we are aware of that,” he said.