By Tarisai Machakaire
Former Zanu PF national political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, yesterday displayed 113 AK47 bullet shells that were recovered at his residence after he and his family survived what he says was an execution plot during last November’s military intervention in the country’s governance.
The bullet shells were displayed during an inspection-in-loco that was conducted at Kasukuwere’s Helensvale mansion, after Harare magistrate Josephine Sande had dismissed his application for discharge of the State’s case against him for illegally skipping the border.
Kasukuwere has denied the charges of contravening section 24 (1) of the Immigration Act, which prohibits people from departing Zimbabwe at any place other than a designated port of exit.
His lawyer, Jonathan Samukange, has said the State is selectively picking on his client for prosecution, while turning a blind eye to other known perpetrators of the same offence.
Samukange has even challenged the State to bring to book others such as former president Robert Mugabe for skipping the country’s border during the liberation war struggle if the charges against his client are bona fide — arguing that the ousted former leader had made a public confession to committing the offence.
During the inspection at Kasukuwere’s house, the former senior Cabinet minister led the court and members of the media through his bullet-proofed house, pointing out to areas that had been hit by the attackers’ shots.
“One of the bullets missed my son who was sitting here,” he narrated as he entered into one of the lounges.
Bullet holes were also jarringly visible on the precast wall, around the guard room, at the kitchen entrance and on windows.
“Clearly, one had no option but to leave the place … I was left with no option and my mind was set on leaving the country because I knew I had no protection whatsoever,” Kasukuwere added.
“It was one of those occasions which one does not want to remember and I am sure the Lord played His part in all this.”
The former Local Government minister said he managed to escape from the residence with his wife and children, before entering Mozambique through bushes and thorns — seeking refugee.
However, prosecutor Fransisca Mukumbiri argued that Kasukuwere’s passport reflected that he had entered Mozambique as a visitor, and had spent months touring different other countries — which was allegedly not consistent with the movements of a refugee.
She also claimed that Kasukuwere had left Zimbabwe on his own volition and had returned to the country when he it suited him.
“You have told the court that you qualify to be exempted according to the Refugees Act, but what happened at your residence does not warrant to be called a disturbance of public order because none of your neighbours were attacked,” Mukumbiri posited.
“What if the attackers were armed robbers? Maybe they wanted to rob a minister who probably stored a lot of cash and probably the 113 bullets resembled heavy ammunition that they would need considering how big your mansion is?” she added.
But Samukange maintained that Kasukuwere had fled the country under duress, comparing his case to that of Mugabe and the late Edgar Tekere — who were assisted to skip the border by the late Rekai Tangwena during the liberation struggle.
“He was a Cabinet minister living a luxurious life in Zimbabwe. He risked crossing the jungles of Mozambique, encountering snakes because he wanted to save his life.
“No one wants to die and he did the right thing to save his life when he was targeted by AK47 rifles,” Samukange said.
“The accused person had always been resident in Zimbabwe until November 15 when he was attacked at his house … although he survived the bullets the holes are still present on the building.
“The attackers were not robbers but targeted him personally. As such, he became a refugee in compliance with section 3 (1) (c) of the Refugee Act and section 24 (1) (b) of the Immigrations Act.”
The State’s only witness, Godfrey Kondo — a principal Immigration officer — has said Kasukuwere could not have sought refuge because his passport reflected that he entered South Africa as a tourist during the same period that he alleged he was in Mozambique.
The court heard that Kasukuwere’s diplomatic passport showed that he left the country on October 29, 2017 — returning on November 3, 2017, and further entering Zimbabwe on May 22 this year.
However, there was no record proving that he had left the country regularly before coming back on May 22.
Kondo said according to section 12 of the Immigrations Act, “every person should present himself/herself before an officer and produce a valid document and appropriate endorsement made in the passport.
“There was no threat to public order because it was actually civilians who were involved. His passport shows that most of the countries he visited during that period he was actually a tourist,” he said.
Kasukuwere will know his fate in the matter today. Daily News