Ex-Grace Mugabe ally vows to return to Zim after 6-month exile

A key ally of Grace Mugabe is set to return to Zimbabwe six months after he fled into exile in the wake of the military takeover, a newspaper reported Sunday.

Speaking to the Zimbabwe edition of South Africa's Sunday Times, former local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere said that he is prepared to return to Harare as "early as this week" and face possible criminal charges. The minister met the paper's journalists at a hotel in Ekurhuleni: it was not clear where exactly he's been staying in South Africa until now.

Accused of corruption

Kasukuwere was among several of Grace Mugabe’s allies, including former higher education minister Jonathan Moyo and former labour minister Patrick Zhuwao who fled the country after the November 15 army operation dubbed Operation Restore Legacy. The army said it was targeting “criminals” around Mugabe. The operation led to Mugabe’s resignation six days later.

“We were accused of corruption and that we are the centre of destroying the economy,” Kasukuwere told the paper. “The reason I will go back home is that if I did commit a crime, then I must be brought before the courts and charged,” he said.

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Several other ministers loyal to the Mugabes who stayed in the country have been arrested and charged with corruption and abuse of office.

Kasukuwere’s home was reportedly attacked by soldiers in the early hours of November 15 while he, his family and Moyo and his family were holed up there. They later escaped to the Mugabe's mansion, and Kasukuwere and Moyo then fled the country.

Kasukuwere said that life in exile had been hard.

Bitter feelings

“I have had to adapt to the environment, live within my means and do away with yesterday’s appetites,” he said. “I can’t afford either the luxury or the pleasures of things such as a holiday.”

Kasukuwere said last November’s events had left him feeling bitter. He said the power struggle within Zanu-PF had been a “political” one that did not merit the army’s intervention.

“You would have expected political players to deal with each other politically,” he said.

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