ZANU PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere has been linked with a group of Zanu PF ‘mafikizolos’ angling for full control of the party. He is said to harbour presidential ambitions and accused of corruption.
His link with the mysterious Baba Jukwa Facebook character which posed as a Zanu PF mole has also been a PR setback for the wealthy environment minister.
NewZimbabwe.com’s chief reporter Nkosana Dlamini (ND)rang up Saviour Kasukuwere (SK) for his responses on these and more issues. Below is the transcript of the conversation.
ND: Briefly who is Saviour Kasukuwere?
SK: He is a Zimbabwean.
ND: What distinguishes him from any other Zimbabwean?
SK: Nothing. That’s why l said l am a Zimbabwean.
ND: How did you earn the nickname Tyson?
SK: You see; you don’t earn a nickname; you are given a nickname. I think that question would best be answered by those who gave it to me.
ND: Your critics say it is because you are tough and combative in your conduct. Do you agree?
SK: That’s what they observe and they are entitled to their opinions. In fact, they say a lot which l don’t worry so much about. I am a very quiet person.
ND: Its now several months since you became Zanu PF political commissar, how has life been so far?
SK: The going has been very good. The party is very strong. We won by-elections and we are set to win many more by-elections. Zanu PF has never been this strong. We have emerged from a period where there was internal destabilisation. We have weathered the storm of the regime change agenda.
ND: Do you find your job as Zanu PF political commissar any tougher than those of your predecessors given the current happenings in Zanu PF?
SK: What my predecessors experienced and what I am experiencing are two different things. I don’t know what they experienced because l was not part of them. But my assignment is simple. The key objective being to ensure that the party is strong and to win the elections and we are doing that. So my tasks and objectives are gelling in well and we are winning. What with (Tendai, MDC Renewal) Biti running away from the country and MDC finished.
ND: Do you reckon the only form of adversity can only come from the opposition?
SK: Ah, that’s where the opposition is ka. How can I be busy looking for opposition within Zanu PF?
ND: Your occupying the hot seat can sometimes be unenviable considering that two of your predecessors Border Gezi and Elliot Manyika died in what many thought were mysterious deaths, are you not afraid honourable Kasukuwere?
SK: Ah, how can you be afraid of dying? Iwewe haufi here iwewe? Who told you that people die under mysterious circumstances? (Webster) Shamu is alive wani?
ND: It could well be a Mashonaland Central plague honourable Kasukuwere (laugh).
SK: So you think Mash Central political commissars must just die (laugh)?
ND: You are regarded as one of the mafikizolos of Zanu PF who are out to sabotage the party for personal gain and nothing else. What do you say to this?
SK: When was l expected to have joined Zanu PF? Those who call me mafikizolo, l am asking, when did they expect me to have joined the party?
ND: Well l can’t answer for them but they are obviously among those who formed the party.
SK: When they formed the party, l was not yet born so how did you want me to be there?
ND: What started as a campaign to get rid of what you find as divisive elements within Zanu PF now known as the Gamatox group has somewhat turned into your own ambition to become future president of the country, do you harbour those ambitions honourable Kasukuwere?
SK: I don’t.
ND: Is that all you can say?
SK: Because l don’t ka. You are talking like the Gamatoxies you see. Those who say Kasukuwere harbours presidential ambitions were the Gamatoxies, you see. So when you repeat it, it would seem like you are also Gamatox.
ND: Far from it. These are sentiments emanating from…
SK: The country and the party has a president. Period!
ND: And at some point that president would leave, would you wish to be president?
SK: Ah, that’s the spirit yemaGamatox to say l want to be president when the president is still there, that is why we bar people out of the party. And you are speaking like a Gamatox also.
ND: I do not own the opinion. I am merely…
SK: But who ever told you is a Gamatox.
ND: Honourable Kasukuwere, you have been associated with the so-called Gang of Four. What do you say to that and what would be your role in that Gang of Four?
SK: What is a gang of four? That was Rugare Gumbo who spoke about the Gang of Four. What’s this gang? What does it mean? How can l be a gangster? What for? That’s what Rugare Gumbo said and you by repeating it, that’s why l said you are also a Gamatox. That’s what Rugare Gumbo said and it was meant to insult us. Unless if you believe Rugare Gumbo better and you are a Gamatox, then we can talk about a Gang of Four (laughs).
ND: What is your relationship with General Constantine Chiwenga and Professor Jonathan Moyo?
SK: Chiwenga has been my commander for many years when l was in the security services, Jonathan is a colleague in the party. Like you are also my colleague, isn’t it?
ND: And there is nothing beyond that?
SK: Why don’t you want to see people who are peaceful and quiet? Why do you always want to give people identities which do not belong to them? I am told you are also friends with Rugare Gumbo (laughs).
ND: You were once alleged to be involved with the Baba Jukwa scandal and at some point were interviewed by the police over this. In what form were you involved, if you were?
SK: Why don’t you go and read the Baba Jukwa pages and see how they sought to kidnap my children, how they sought to target me. How can l get involved in an institution that was targeting me? Don’t you think that was stupidity on whoever was involved? That was total stupidity! How do you interview a victim and you say to the victim you are the one involved? That makes me angry, that one makes me personally very angry. I don’t like it. I suffered the brunt of being attacked by Baba Jukwa. We know who was behind it. Don’t you know who was behind it?
ND: I don’t honourable Kasukuwere.
SK: You must do your homework my friend? I am sure you also don’t believe it.
ND: Gossip says you are angling for a stake in Telecel on the back of the current licence saga? What do you say to that?
SK: If l had wanted any stake in Telecel, l would have done that when we were in the AAG (Affirmative Action Group), why would l want it now?
ND: Saviour Kasukuwere is said to have amassed a lot of wealth around himself and would fight hard to protect the current Zanu PF establishment chiefly to protect his wealth, what would you say to that?
SK: How do you protect your wealth by being a member of Zanu PF?
ND: Your critics say that Zanu PF is reluctant to clamp down on its corrupt top officials because it would be trying to maintain some cohesion of sorts?
SK: Are you trying to suggest that people become Zanu PF because they are criminals?
ND: Not at all.
SK: No. I am clear about Zanu PF’s ideology. I am clear about this party; where it has come from. I have been a fervent supporter of this party from the day l got to know about Zanu PF. At a very tender age, about 17 years old. I am born in this party. I am born in the struggle for this country. So l am not here because l want to protect my wealth. In fact, the truth is yes, l built my businesses because of the dispensation, the environment built by Zanu PF. It enables me as a black Zimbabwean to earn a living in this country, to get a job, to build my businesses, prosper with all done under Zanu PF. I have always been a member, party supporter.
Zanu PF is my ideological home, and that’s why l am a member of the party. And talking about my wealth, people think that wealth grows on trees. Some of these people who make noises, when we were building businesses, they were working in London, doing something there or they were in schools, some of them and they turn around and say so and so has done this. No! You have got to employ your brains. Not to survive on blackmail, stealing from the public purse. No, we don’t believe in that.
Zanu PF is a party built by people. We are committed to the empowerment of our people, with a cause. Not the fly by nights who today make the loudest noise each time they are kicked out of the party because they have been using it for their nefarious objectives, threatening and taking things from the people. We find you with that behaviour, you will be kicked out of the party?
ND: What happened when you were detained at the airport in Germany some time back? Some people say the officials had received a tip-off that you were smuggling ivory?
SK: (Laughs) My friend, do you know how ivory looks like? I mean don’t expose your ignorance my friend. Surely, with a simple bag, and overnight, l am carrying ivory. To where? To Poland? To sell ivory in Poland! Why would l? Listen my friend, I have built a business. I have borrowed money from banks and built my own companies. So take thievery out of me completely. Don’t even think l will waste and iota of energy stealing from the public purse. No, l have built my own wealth from a long time ago. So l don’t need public money.
I don’t need to involve myself in any deal that is not in the public interest of our people and our country. I don’t need to. Whatever l do, l do it because I believe we must build our country. So I have deployed my mind as a business person for the betterment of our people. For me, it’s no longer about the wealth. You talk about making money. That we have gone through. We know what it is. We have had money. We have endured both ends of good life and bad life.
Now I am at a stage where I am basically being obliged to carry out the objectives of my party and because I believe in the objectives of Zanu PF, behind President Mugabe, I do as I am told by my leadership. That’s all. So, I cannot even waste my time trying to carry ivory to Germany. You think I want to die in a Germany cell for carrying ivory? To make how much money? Tell me, how much does an ivory piece cost? US$30,000 and you think I will waste my time carrying an ivory piece of $30,000 to Germany?
ND: From your response honourable Kasukuwere, l wonder if you have partially answered to my next question…
ND: Fine. Sources say during your time with the intelligence services, you used your sister’s car to get into Mozambique to get elephant tusks that you used to grow your own business…
SK: How can I get into Mozambique to go and bring elephants? Where were they? What is the elephant population in Mozambique as compared to that of Zimbabwe? I served in Mozambique as an intelligence operative and securing the peace in Mozambique and that l did in a distinguished way. And this whole nonsense of people trying to sniff around, asking where did he make his money you see it’s people who are too lazy, who have never tried to explore what this country offers. They find it very difficult to succeed in this country, hence it’s either you have stolen or you have been given money. You know there are so many theories, some of them sickening.
You see, foolishness actually, or poverty is much more difficult to achieve than riches in this country. If you think and work hard, you will make money. Don’t waste your time being careless. Do what your country offers you and you see the difference. President Mugabe has provided free education to people of this country who do not want to embrace it. Some became Prime Ministers and did not have degrees. They waited to get some free ones yet there are so many universities.
You must be prepared at an individual level and make a difference. If you want to know where l got my money go to CBZ, there is a track record of when I collected my first loan of US$126,000, go to Stanbic Bank where I collected a loan of $100,000 nine years ago when I was still in Mutare doing my business. My track record is there. You can ask Gideon Gono if you want. Call Gideon Gono, he will tell you.
ND: And you now want a Gamatox to redeem you honourable Kasukuwere? (laugh)
SK: No, on this one he can be excused of being a Gamatox (laughs)
ND: Maybe my last question honourable Kasukuwere. Is Saviour Kasukuwere a Zanu PF hardliner?
SK: What is a hardliner or what is a soft liner?
ND: Well, my simple understanding of a hardliner is someone who is so conservative and would fight hard to have the status quo unchanged.
SK: What change do you have in mind?
ND: Let’s start with leadership change for example.
SK: Ah, but we go for congress, we have processes that are carried out within the party. Right now we are busy building leadership of the cells, from the cells we build the branches, the branch will build the districts, the districts will build the provinces. Every four years provincial leaders are elected, every five years, members of the central committee are elected, politburo appointed and the president elected. This is the process.
If you ask me must I ignore or digress let alone run away from the process, I will say no because this is the published way in which leaders assume leadership; are elected within the party.
President Mugabe has subjected himself over the years to elections within the party and has unanimously been endorsed at each and every one of our congress. President Mugabe has also over the years subjected himself to the national electoral processes and he has won. Now if a hardliner means somebody who sticks to the law of the party, then you can call me that.
ND: Honourable Kasukuwere thanks for your time.
SK: Thanks very much my brother.