Zimbabwe Wall of Shame: Saviour Kasukuwere
By Lance Guma
Youth and Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has been anything but a ‘saviour’ for Mount Darwin South, where he is an MP.
A comprehensive dossier exposes him as a violent thug who from 2000 to 2008 beat up opposition activists using an iron bar, while hunting them down using militia gangs.
Kasukuwere led and sponsored the terror gangs that operated mainly in the Mashonaland Central province.
On the 5th May 2008 for example he organized and ferried (using his lorry) a group of over 300 youths to Chaona, Mazowe. The youths beat up perceived opposition supporters, killing 6 and injuring dozens.
Those killed included Tapiwa Meda, Alex Chiriseri, Joseph Madzuramhende, David Tachiwa Mapuranga, Patson Madzuramhende and Joseph Jemedze. The youths were wearing Kasukuwere’s campaign t-shirts and were assisted by uniformed soldiers under the command of Major Cairo Mhandu.
Eight days later the same mob led by Kasukuwere went on another rampage, killing MDC-T supporters Fischer Chitese, Bright Mafuriro and Sairiro Kamufuto. On the 19th May the group struck again, killing activist Phanuel Mubaira.
Unlike many of his colleagues who simply directed the violence, Kasukuwere actually took part.
On the 25th March 2000 Kasukuwere, then still a ZANU PF candidate for Mount Darwin Constituency, organised a 200 strong gang of youths and war vets at Madondo Hotel. Armed with a list of addresses of known MDC-T supporters they went door to door beating up their targets.
After this raid many victims showed wounds and bruises on the face and all over the body. Assisting Kasukuwere in launching these raids was a war vet known as Jacob Juma. The next month in April the gang plotted to kill an MDC chairman in Mount Darwin known as Taurai from the Nembire ward.
Under the cover of darkness, Kasukuwere’s youths went to Taurai’s homestead, surrounded it and set it on fire. Taurai tried to escape but fell into the hands of the waiting arsonists who used an axe to hack him all over the body. Although they left him for dead he was saved by a neighbour who took him to hospital.
On the same day Kasukuwere led a large group of youths he had ferried into Mount Darwin from Chitungwiza and directed them to attack another MDC chairman known as Tawanda, who was badly beaten and had to be rushed to hospital.
Not satisfied with beating Tawanda up, the following day Kasukuwere’s gang destroyed Tawanda’s home and burnt his car to ashes. Although the matter was reported to the police, officers at the camp said they could not do anything because Kasukuwere was involved.
On the 13th April 2000 a group of 300 MDC supporters tried to hold a rally in Mt Darwin. Kasukuwere ordered the police to mount roadblocks and turn back everyone attending. The defiant MDC supporters fought their way through the roadblock set up by police who were being helped by hundreds of ZANU PF youths and war vets.
Having gone through the first roadblock and the tear gas fired by police, the MDC supporters ran into a second ambush, this time mounted by Kasukuwere and a gang of CIO operatives.
Four pick-up trucks and a maroon Mercedes belonging to Kasukuwere blocked the road. The CIO’s, including Kusukuwere, pulled out their pistols and began assaulting people while police officers looked on.
A testimony from one activist called Albert said:
“Kasukuwere took an iron bar and began hitting my windscreen. He broke through the window and then the bar hit me on the face and when I got out of the car he hit me in the eye. I have now lost an eye. He then went to the next car and with the others they were hitting them. The windscreens and all the lights were broken.”
Kasukuwere was said to be determined to attack the MDC candidate for Bindura, but an army helicopter arrived at the scene. Some MDC supporters ran into the hills but not before one of them was assaulted with an axe and later had stitches in the head.
But sometimes even the best laid plans go wrong and ironically the army ordered everyone at the scene to lie down on the road, and that included Kasukuwere.
Despite protestations by Kasukuwere that he was the ZANU PF candidate, the soldiers disarmed him and beat him up.
Some 80 MDC supporters were also injured in the attack. According to the testimony given the soldiers ordered Kasukuwere to be locked up at the police station in Bindura, but he was set free when his identity had been verified.
A number of reports credit Kasukuwere with setting up ZANU PF torture bases in Mashonaland Central in the run up to the 2000 parliamentary elections.
He initially funded 28 youth militias who lived in a building owned by his campaign manager Terry Marodza. Showing how the violent streak runs in the family was the fact that the gang was also partly sponsored by his sister, Sarah Kasukuwere.
Kasukuwere is also nicknamed ‘Paraquat’ for encouraging his mobs to rub the poisonous herbicide into the torture wounds of MDC activists. This makes it almost impossible for the wounds to ever heal and causes enormous suffering, and many deaths long after the attack.
Despite claims that Kasukuwere was fired from the CIO over corruption allegations we understand he actually still has an office at the CIO headquarters at Chaminuka Building.
What he does there remains a mystery. What we know is that even with a coalition government in place he is still directing ZANU PF violence.
In February 2011 he was fingered as the man behind the mob that engulfed Harare in chaos. He hosted a meeting at his house where a plan was hatched to send party youths onto the streets to demand ‘empowerment’. With the help of a police escort they went on the rampage, looting and pillaging downtown Harare.
We have also exposed how despite being used as the ‘poster boy’ for ZANU PF’s so-called indigenisation drive the same Minister has helped himself to nine farms. This is despite claims by Mugabe’s regime that they seized white owned land to give to landless blacks.
Confidential documents show Kasukuwere owns part of Pimento Farm in Mashonaland Central, South Bamboo Creek in Shamva, Cornucopia Farm Orchard, 500 hectares of Harmony Farm in Mazowe, Bretton Farm, Allan Grange Farm, Auchenburg Farm, Bamboo Creek Farm and Bourne Farm.
Pimento was seized from white farmer Oliver Newton, South Bamboo Creek from farmers N. Richardson and R. Morkel, while Kasukuwere reportedly seized the Cornucopia Farm Orchard from Interfresh in 2006.
His brother Donald Kasukuwere also helped himself to two farms, Usaka in Mazowe, Mashonaland Central and Sangokwe North in Mwenezi.
In addition to the farms Kasukuwere is also involved in oil procurement and distribution. He owns ComOil (Pvt) Ltd and also the United Touring Company (UTC) which has been so run down it is in serious financial difficulties.
Additionally he has substantial shareholdings in Genesis Bank and Interfresh (Pvt) Ltd. In 2009 he was accused of trying to block fresh investment in the energy sector to force companies like BP and Shell to sell their assets to his oil company, ComOil.
In government Kasukuwere has run his ministry like a mafia organization. He illegally smuggled more than 11,000 youth militia onto the civil service payroll and deployed them countrywide, to intimidate opposition activists.
In a single day, on the 26th May 2008, his ministry hired 6,861 youth militias. This was just a few weeks away from the bloody one man presidential run-off in June 2008.
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