Philip Chiyangwa and Minister Kasukuwere in war of words
Local Government minister, Saviour Kasukuwere and his erstwhile friend and party colleague, Philip Chiyangwa yesterday traded nasty insults, as the campaign to oust the ZANU-PF Commissar took a foul turn.
Kasukuwere was the first to throw barbs at Chiyangwa, taking subtle potshots at the businessman for being part of the Rhodesian security apparatus.
Chiyangwa, who was part of the British South Africa Police African reserve force, did not take it kindly, hitting back, accusing Kasukuwere whom he derided as a ‘driver’ of demanding a $5 million bribe from him.
The fight came to the fore after Chiyangwa was part of a Zanu PF Mashonaland West meeting that endorsed Kasukuwere’s ouster, triggering a strong response from the party’s political commissar, who blames his woes on land barons.
“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 pursuing parochial objectives with the support of greedy land barons by peddling defamatory lies on my conduct in the party and government,” Kasukuwere said in a statement on Thursday night.
“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 also inferred he and President Robert Mugabe would not be removed the Issa Hayatou way, an obvious reference to Chiyangwa’s role in the removal of the former Confederation of African Football head.
But Chiyangwa hit back in kind, saying he would not be intimidated by a driver in reference to Kasukuwere.
Using strong words, most of which are unprintable, Chiyangwa said Kasukuwere was no longer fit to hold office and described him as the most corrupt Cabinet minister.
“If he says he doesn’t want to go the Hayatou way, he must advise me which way he wants to go. Kasukuwere is somebody I [saw growing] from nothing to somebody,” he said.
“The biggest mistake is that he did several things wrong and principally I don’t agree with that (sic).”
Chiyangwa claimed during the early days of their association, people told him that Kasukuwere was a mere driver, but he did not take heed.
“Several people were telling me that this person is a driver, but I didn’t look at that. I said it was not important,” he continued.
“I saw him rise with [under] my own guidance and today I am talking about somebody who is no longer suitable to hold the national political commissar position because he asks for bribes (sic).
“He wanted bribes for every service that he gave and that to me, a central committee member, why would he want a bribe so that he gives me what is due to me?”
Chiyangwa alleged after talking to former Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo to get his land back, Kasukuwere went on to ask for a $5 million bribe to facilitate the handover of the property.
“I tried so many times to talk to him and people around him to say he should desist from asking me for a bribe,” he claimed.
“It is his persistence for a bribe that p*ssed me off. You ask me for a bribe, when you have a directive from the President to give me back what is due to me? I said I will not take this s**t.
“He is a bribe taker. I can say he is one of the biggest corrupt ministers in the Mugabe government and we cannot go with him to the next election (sic). Every ministry that he has been (in) he will be taking bribes, just to provide an ordinary facilitation service he wants money.”
Chiyangwa compared Kasukuwere to Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro, whose country is facing an economic meltdown.
“Look at Venezuela, Maduro is a driver. He is the Kasukuwere [of that country]. We are in trouble with drivers. Look at this driver here. He must say which way he wants to go if he doesn’t want to go the Hayatou way because he must go and we will follow him that way.
“If he doesn’t give me the way to go, I will be ruthless. If a person wants to fight me, he must be very strong,” Chiyangwa said shouting obscenities at him.
But Kasukuwere described Chiyangwa as a “charlatan and loud mouth”, who did not have the money he claimed to have.
“Do you think he has that kind of money? He should stop daydreaming and wait for the outcome of our inquiry into the land he has stolen from the State,” he said.
“He is a loud-mouthed and broke bloke. He should report to Zacc [Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission] and not fund chaos within the party. We will get to the bottom of his shenanigans and he will not get away with the massive corruption he has perpetrated in local authorities and the State land office.”
Kasukuwere retorted that Chiyangwa was Chief Chirau’s former driver and he should stop insulting drivers.
“The Rhodesian policeman is crazy. What about him, who was the driver of Chief Chirau? Zupo [Zimbabwe United People’s Organisation],” he said, before delivering a body blow.
“And he thought he could join the South African intelligence by spying. He called his company CIA, for what?”
In Zimbabwean lore, Chief Chirau is considered a sell-out, as he sided with the Ian Smith regime before independence.
Chiyangwa was arrested in 2005 in a case where there was suspected espionage.
Kasukuwere reportedly was once a driver for a Manicaland provincial intelligence officer.
The fight between Kasukuwere and Chiyangwa is not the first, as the two once crossed paths in the battle for control of the once radical Affirmative Action Group when it was still a force to reckon with in the 1990s.