SELF-EXILED Zanu-PF G40 kingpins Saviour Kasukuwere and Walter Mzembi yesterday scoffed at President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s threat to have them extradited from South Africa for prosecution.
They said they would invoke international laws to block the planned extradition.
The two ex-officials said Mnangagwa would not succeed in his “desperate attempt to weaponise prosecutions” to annihilate political opponents.
Mnangagwa on Saturday announced that he would soon apply for the extradition of Kasukuwere and Mzembi from the neighbouring country to face justice at home.
He was addressing a Zanu-PF provincial co-ordinating meeting in Gweru.
Mnangagwa accused the G40 duo, who left the country after the November 2017 military coup, of peddling falsehoods on social media to taint his government’s image.
He said the two former top Zanu-PF officials had overstretched his patience.
His threats came a few days after a delegation from South Africa met with top Zanu-PF officials over the deteriorating socioeconomic and political situation in the country.
Mnangagwa’s government has denied that the country is in a crisis.
Kasukuwere and Mzembe had no kind words for Mnangagwa yesterday, accusing him of plotting vengeance and retribution against perceived foes at the expense of building the economy.
“Unlike (former President Robert) Mugabe who spent the first three years of his reign trying to build the country’s education, health and economy, Mnangagwa is spending his first three years plotting arrests, abductions and killing of political opponents,” Kasukuwere fumed.
“It (extradition) is going to be resisted, there are international laws that protect us. He has already convicted us before we even come and laws will protect us. We are even more innocent than Mnangagwa himself.”
Mzembi said his difference with Mnangagwa was political and arises from the November 2017 coup, which he said averted an impending congress in December 2017 to choose Mugabe’s successor.
“It is not a secret that there were two factions contesting for power in Zanu-PF. Now identifying G40 leadership for prosecution on distant things that do not even border on criminality is a good example of weaponisation of prosecutions.
“He used the Zimbabwe Defence Forces to arbitrate in an intra-party dispute between two factions, G40 and Lacoste, and that dispute, because it was summarily resolved by force, stands to this day. The battle for the soul and minds of Zanu-PF continues, with him as hanging on the military thread, imposing himself, while the legitimate party is in exile,” Mzembi said.
“It is that which makes him do the unthinkable and unprecedented of addressing district meetings seeking grassroots support which is clearly not with him and making preposterous statements where he becomes the judge, jury, prosecutor of his opponents. He is an expert at weaponising criminal prosecution against political opponents.”
Mzembi added: “It can’t miss the observation of the people that this is an unresolved political dispute with the younger generation.
“There is no solution to the Zimbabwean crisis that does not start with introspection into Zanu-PF. Others in Zanu-PF who are inside the country cannot speak out because of fear of victimisation.”
He said Mnangagwa was suffering a legitimacy crisis on two fronts.
“Internally, he does not have legitimacy and externally, his poll victory is contested. That is why he targeted Nelson Chamisa (MDC Alliance president) and his deputy, Tendai Biti in his address. He knows apart from the legitimacy crisis he has in his party, he also suffers a crisis in government.”
The former Tourism minister also accused Mnangagwa of being vindictive to the extent of confiscating his personal car, a Mercedes-Benz GL350, which he claimed was bought as part of his service vehicle after the United National World Tourism Organisation general assembly in 2013.
He claimed Mnangagwa had turned the car into his personal property.
Kasukuwere also claimed his service vehicle, a Range Rover, was taken away and given to Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe after the military bombarded his home in Harare in November 2017.
“Mnangagwa also confiscated my Mercedes-Benz vehicle I bought in 2013 claiming I stole it from (former State security minister) Nicholas Goche. The car remains with Mnangagwa’s administration despite producing papers to prove my ownership to it,” he said.