Is Kasukuwere Zanu-PF’s saviour?

2011-09-10 14:55

Saviour Kasukuwere (40), ­Zimbabwe’s minister of youth ­development, indigenisation and empowerment, and the brains ­behind the government’s drive to take over foreign-owned mining companies, has emerged as a ­possible successor to President Robert Mugabe.

A covert Zanu-PF project called “The Third Way” – an ambitious cabal of young moderates seen as a go-between in the long-standing rivalry between vice-president Joyce Mujuru and defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa – was designed by former Zanu-PF ­bigwig Jonathan Moyo.

Recent WikiLeaks diplomatic ­cables suggest that in 2007, Moyo courted the US to support “such people acceptable to both the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Zanu-PF” to replace Mugabe.

Kasukuwere’s rise to prominence in Zanu-PF has involved being a messenger, driver and member of the government’s spy unit, the Central Intelligence ­Organisation.

While Kasukuwere’s threats to “kick out” foreign-owned companies has unnerved foreign investors, he has subtly endeared ­himself to colleagues in Zanu-PF keen to benefit from an indigenised mining sector. Mugabe ­appeared to have warmed up to Kasukuwere, ­endorsing his ­belligerence against foreign ­mining companies.

In May, Kasukuwere conceded that advances were being made by Zanu-PF members and business people seeking favours from him.

With elections set to take place before March next year according to Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s empowerment drive is certain to be usurped as an election tool and a rallying point for Zanu-PF.
This is despite the lack of a free and fair electoral environment, where ­violent clashes were seen this week during the opening of ­Parliament.

The MDC’s push to hold polls at the end of next year or in 2103 is ­likely to be ignored. The MDC said recently the unity government was “unworkable”.

Says political analyst Takura Zhangazha: “The MDC is in a catch-22 situation. It must participate with the clear message that it is operating in an unfair ­environment. If it doesn’t participate, it will lose the national rallying point of the struggle.”

Retired judge Simpson Mutambanengwe is now head of the newly constituted Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, but has been quick to point out that inadequate funding thwarts Zimbabwe’s readiness to hold any fresh polls.

The country needs $240million (R1.7 billion) for the polls, but Mutambanengwe says the electoral commission is “barely surviving” and was allocated only $8.5 million by the Treasury.

“It is provided for in the ­­Consti­tution that we have to be adequately funded. If our programmes are held back because the funds are not forthcoming, who then should say something about it?”

Zimbabwean publisher and ­political scientist Ibbo Mandaza said rushed elections would ­result in another contested result and present new challenges for the Southern African Development Community.

“Elections in the present ­circumstances will lead to ­another government of national unity,” Mandaza said.

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