President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has renewed efforts to engage South Africa in a bid to repatriate exiled former cabinet minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
Kasukuwere now resides in South Africa following the November 2017 military coup that ousted longtime ruler, Robert Mugabe. The coup, which brought Mnangagwa to power, sent the former president’s allies, including Kasukuwere and other members of the so-called G-40 faction, fleeing into exile.
Kasukuwere, who formerly served as Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister, faces four counts of criminal abuse of duty as a public officer.
However, Kasukuwere himself views the charges as a thinly veiled political attack by Mnangagwa, who is widely seen as manipulating the law to persecute political rivals.
The National Prosecuting Authority has since prepared indictment papers and says the former Zanu-PF political commissar will be tried as soon as he is brought home. Mr Nelson Mutsonziwa, in an affidavit commissioned by chief law officer Mr Chris Mutangadura said:
“This request is not being pursued for political reasons or any ulterior purpose. Zimbabwe guarantees that Saviour Kasukuwere will receive a fair trial in terms of the laws of Zimbabwe. The Republic of Zimbabwe also undertakes to render assistance to the Republic of South Africa in any criminal matter.”
It is alleged that during his tenure as the local government minister, Kasukuwere corruptly parcelled out over 220 hectares of land in Harare and Masvingo to the sister of former First Lady Grace Mugabe, Shuvai Gumbochuma.
He did so at the expense of eight entities who had been awarded the land by his predecessor Ignatious Chombo.
He is also being accused of having corruptly awarded a tender to a company called Brainworks Capital when he was still the Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment.
Last year, the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) rejected Zimbabwe’s request to extradite Kasukuwere on grounds that the case would have implications on the organosation’s neutrality.