Gift Phiri 22 April 2017
HARARE – As President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF’s deadly tribal,
factional and succession wars continue to escalate, valued long-standing
relationships among the party’s bigwigs are coming under increasing
This comes as flamboyant Harare businessman Phillip Chiyangwa, pictured,
has had a stunning fallout with his longtime friend and party senior,
Saviour Kasukuwere – amid stunning allegations that the under-fire Local
Government minister allegedly recently asked for a $5 million bribe from
The alleged bribe demand was to “help facilitate” the government’s
compensation to Chiyangwa after the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa)
chairman lost his 587-hectare Stoneridge Farm in Harare to the State just
over a decade ago.
Repeated efforts by the Daily News over the past two days to solicit a
comment from Kasukuwere did not yield results. However, he issued a veiled
attack on Thursday which targeted Chiyangwa, in a statement which was
released after the Daily News sought his comment.
“The charade by those intent on usurping power from the appointing
authority disguised as an attack on my person is now being championed by
well-known recalcitrant political charlatans and opportunists who are
pushing parochial objectives with the support of greedy land barons by
peddling defamatory lies on my conduct in the party and government.
“In order to protect and assert my legal rights, I have initiated lawsuits
against these corrupt and rogue elements some of whom were openly part of
the Rhodesian security apparatus,” Kasukuwere thundered in his apparent
jibe at Chiyangwa – who is said to have been a member of the police before
Interestingly, Chiyangwa and Kasukuwere were until recently known as close
friends – with this camaraderie seemingly ending last week after the Zifa
boss publicly supported the call by Zanu PF structures for Kasukuwere to
be axed as the former liberation movement’s national political commissar.
Chiyangwa told the Daily News this week that he was “stunned” when
Kasukuwere allegedly demanded the $5 million that was meant to bankroll
Zanu PF rallies.
“I refused to pay the bribe. Tyson (Kasukuwere) demanded $5 million (to
facility Chiyangwa’s compensation) – It’s not a grudge. This guy is very
corrupt – he demanded a bribe – I refused.
“He must be a good and straight forward person. You don’t ask for a bribe
from a central committee member,” he said.
Chiyangwa added that what had initially appeared to be a simple procedure
of claiming two pieces of land in Harare, as well as a portion of the
annexed property from Stoneridge Farm, as compensation for the loss of his
587-hectare farm became a nightmare when he allegedly refused to shell out
the $5 million that Kasukuwere allegedly demanded.
He also alleged that Kasukuwere had tried to scuttle negotiations for a
Deed of Settlement in the case, in line with a presidential decree.
In a November 21, 2016 letter to Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora,
Kasukuwere said negotiations over the Stoneridge Farm with Chiyangwa had
“hit a brick wall”.
“My opinion has been that, while accepting that land has to be paid for by
the beneficiaries, the families who have occupied his land need government
protection as part of our social responsibility,” Kasukuwere said in his
Mombeshora wrote back to Kasukuwere on December 14, 2016 stating: “I wish
to advise that the current legal framework for land administration under
my ministry proscribes the transfer of the title deed of the property back
to the former owner”.
Chiyangwa was finally compensated when the Local Government ministry,
through permanent secretary George Mlilo, agreed to cede suitable land of
the same size to the Harare businessman as compensation.
Chiyangwa and Mlilo subsequently inked the deal on March 31 this year,
finalising the allocation and transfer of Tantallon Estate in Manyame –
measuring 586,89 ha – as well as a portion of Amalish Farm, measuring
about 40ha, and which is part of Stoneridge.
“He wanted to frustrate this. He wanted to interfere with a court process
. . . things that happened before his time. He asked for a bribe to
provide a service,” Chiyangwa claimed.
Pressed on the details of his charges, he said he refused to pay a bribe
to Kasukuwere because he “did not want to be responsible for perpetuating
corruption and committing a criminal offence” – saying further that he had
faced “a moral paradox” of adding an additional cost to his property
He also said that he did not report the matter to the police, insisting
that “the best way” for him to deal with the matter was “to refuse to pay
the bribe and publicise” the minister’s demands.
He also claimed that he bore no grudge against Kasukuwere because he was
“responsible” for building the Local Government minister’s political
“He was a driver with the CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation) in
Mutare. I made him provincial youth chairman after recommending him to
(then political commissar) Border Gezi.
“During his time in politics, he has not built any person, not one youth.
He needs proper schooling . . . Drivers are problematic, they are
dangerous. Look at Maduro,” he said referring to former bus driver and now
Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro who succeeded the late Hugo Chavez and
has since wrecked that country’s economy.
Chiyangwa also reiterated that he fully supports the ouster of Kasukuwere
as Zanu PF’s national political commissar – adding quickly that this,
however, had “nothing to do” with their fallout.
“It’s like an Issa (Hayatou) fight. Once I start fighting I won’t stop,”
he said referring to his spirited campaign which ousted long serving
Confederations of African Football (Caf) president, Issa Hayatou, in March
– after the Cameroonian strongman had spent 29 years in charge of the
continent’s football matters.
Curiously, Kasukuwere – in his Thursday statement – also made reference to
Hayatou saying: “I will not go the Hayatou way.”
Kasukuwere’s future as Zanu PF’s national political commissar is currently
under serious scrutiny, as eight provinces of the warring ruling party
have said they no longer want him to continue in his position.
Insiders have also said it is now clear that what had started as a
seemingly hopeless campaign against Kasukuwere had snowballed into “a huge
crisis” for him.
Irate party members whom Kasukuwere say are seeking to topple Mugabe from
power, accuse the minister of engaging in clandestine activities to
destabilise the warring former liberation movement – including bizarre
claims of plotting to oust the nonagenarian from power.