By Gift Phiri
The family of Chief Chirau yesterday came out guns blazing against Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere’s claim that the late traditional leader was a “sellout,” branding it a “false and unprofessional attack” and threatened to sue the embattled Local Government minister for libel.
The angry family, fronted by Mostaff Chirau — a son to Chief Chirau — also slammed Kasukuwere’s accusations that flamboyant businessman Philip Chiyangwa was the late Senator’s driver, and branded the “rant” as riddled with “lies, and misrepresentations”.
“He has tarnished our image, tiri madzimambo (we are chiefs) and we will be filing a $5 million lawsuit over his false and unprofessional attack on Chief Chirau which is disgusting and revolting,” he told the Daily News on the sidelines of a protest held at Chiyangwa’s Harare office yesterday.
Efforts to get Kasukuwere to respond to the threats were futile yesterday.
Kasukuwere made the claims last week following his stunning fallout with his longtime friend, Chiyangwa.
The alleged bribe demand was to “help facilitate” the government’s compensation to Chiyangwa after the Zifa president lost his 587-hectare Stoneridge farm in Harare to the State just over a decade ago.
Kasukuwere then claimed in a retort carried in a local daily that Chiyangwa was Chief Chirau’s former driver and he should stop insulting drivers.
“The Rhodesian policeman is crazy,” Kasukuwere thundered in his apparent jibe at Chiyangwa — who is said to have been a member of the police before Zimbabwe’s independence.
“What about him, who was the driver of Chief Chirau? Zupo (Zimbabwe United People’s Organisation),” he said.
An angry Mostaff disputed this yesterday.
“Chiyangwa has never been a driver of Chief Chirau. Jeremiah Chirau died a long time ago. The president respects him, war veterans respect him. He was honoured by the president. Kasukuwere must deal with his no-confidence vote injuries without maligning our father. Why malign Chiyangwa because of our father, why?”
“For your own information, the president stayed in his home for three to four months. He is a sell-out where?” he fumed, adding his father facilitated talks between Zanu and Zapu and persuaded the now late Vice President Joshua Nkomo to return home from exile to engage Mugabe and enter the Lancaster House conference which led to the resignation of Ian Smith.
“It was Chief Chirau who went and spoke to Nkomo to go to Lancaster House,” Chirau said, adding he was also instrumental in talks between Mugabe and Nkomo to sign a unity accord in 1987, leading to the integration of PF-Zapu and Zanu PF.
“In 1987, Chirau was the mediator and he helped us to get the freedom that has enabled Kasukuwere to amass all the wealth he now has. Anodherera. (He is disrespectful.)
“We want him to qualify his claims in court,” he said.
The current push to oust Kasukuwere over a slew of charges which include plotting to topple Mugabe from power — is likely to escalate amid reports the Chirau family wants to take the issue to their neighbour Mugabe when he visits his rural home.
Kasukuwere has reportedly been frantically trying to apologise to the Chirau family through Tsanangurai Chirau.
Tsanangurai confirmed yesterday that Kasukuwere phoned her over the weekend apologising profusely over his remarks.
“I told him I’m not the only Chirau,” she told the Daily News yesterday, amid reports the allegations have riled the entire Chirau clan, including those in the Diaspora. Daily News