Kasukuwere asked me for a $5m bribe - Chiyangwa

HARARE - As President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF’s deadly tribal, factional and succession wars continue to escalate, valued long-standing relationships among the party’s bigwigs are coming under increasing strain.

This comes as flamboyant Harare businessman Phillip Chiyangwa, pictured, has had a stunning fallout with his longtime friend and party senior, Saviour Kasukuwere — amid stunning allegations that the under-fire Local Government minister allegedly recently asked for a $5 million bribe from Chiyangwa.

The alleged bribe demand was to “help facilitate” the government’s compensation to Chiyangwa after the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) chairman lost his 587-hectare Stoneridge Farm in Harare to the State just over a decade ago.

Repeated efforts by the Daily News over the past two days to solicit a comment from Kasukuwere did not yield results. However, he issued a veiled attack on Thursday which targeted Chiyangwa, in a statement which was released after the Daily News sought his comment.

“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 pushing parochial objectives with the support of greedy land barons by peddling defamatory lies on my conduct in the party and government.

“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 thundered in his apparent jibe at Chiyangwa — who is said to have been a member of the police before Zimbabwe’s independence.

Interestingly, Chiyangwa and Kasukuwere were until recently known as close friends — with this camaraderie seemingly ending last week after the Zifa boss publicly supported the call by Zanu PF structures for Kasukuwere to be axed as the former liberation movement’s national political commissar.

Chiyangwa told the Daily News this week that he was “stunned” when Kasukuwere allegedly demanded the $5 million that was meant to bankroll Zanu PF rallies.

“I refused to pay the bribe. Tyson (Kasukuwere) demanded $5 million (to facility Chiyangwa’s compensation) — It’s not a grudge. This guy is very corrupt — he demanded a bribe — I refused.

“He must be a good and straight forward person. You don’t ask for a bribe from a central committee member,” he said.

Chiyangwa added that what had initially appeared to be a simple procedure of claiming two pieces of land in Harare, as well as a portion of the annexed property from Stoneridge Farm, as compensation for the loss of his 587-hectare farm became a nightmare when he allegedly refused to shell out the $5 million that Kasukuwere allegedly demanded.

He also alleged that Kasukuwere had tried to scuttle negotiations for a Deed of Settlement in the case, in line with a presidential decree.

In a November 21, 2016 letter to Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora, Kasukuwere said negotiations over the Stoneridge Farm with Chiyangwa had “hit a brick wall”.

“My opinion has been that, while accepting that land has to be paid for by the beneficiaries, the families who have occupied his land need government protection as part of our social responsibility,” Kasukuwere said in his letter.

Mombeshora wrote back to Kasukuwere on December 14, 2016 stating: “I wish to advise that the current legal framework for land administration under my ministry proscribes the transfer of the title deed of the property back to the former owner”.

Chiyangwa was finally compensated when the Local Government ministry, through permanent secretary George Mlilo, agreed to cede suitable land of the same size to the Harare businessman as compensation.

Chiyangwa and Mlilo subsequently inked the deal on March 31 this year, finalising the allocation and transfer of Tantallon Estate in Manyame — measuring 586,89 ha — as well as a portion of Amalish Farm, measuring about 40ha, and which is part of Stoneridge.

“He wanted to frustrate this. He wanted to interfere with a court process . . . things that happened before his time. He asked for a bribe to provide a service,” Chiyangwa claimed.

Pressed on the details of his charges, he said he refused to pay a bribe to Kasukuwere because he “did not want to be responsible for perpetuating corruption and committing a criminal offence” — saying further that he had faced “a moral paradox” of adding an additional cost to his property business.

He also said that he did not report the matter to the police, insisting that “the best way” for him to deal with the matter was “to refuse to pay the bribe and publicise” the minister’s demands.

He also claimed that he bore no grudge against Kasukuwere because he was “responsible” for building the Local Government minister’s political career.

“He was a driver with the CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation) in Mutare. I made him provincial youth chairman after recommending him to (then political commissar) Border Gezi.

“During his time in politics, he has not built any person, not one youth. He needs proper schooling . . . Drivers are problematic, they are dangerous. Look at Maduro,” he said referring to former bus driver and now Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro who succeeded the late Hugo Chavez and has since wrecked that country’s economy.

Chiyangwa also reiterated that he fully supports the ouster of Kasukuwere as Zanu PF’s national political commissar — adding quickly that this, however, had “nothing to do” with their fallout.

“It’s like an Issa (Hayatou) fight. Once I start fighting I won’t stop,” he said referring to his spirited campaign which ousted long serving Confederations of African Football (Caf) president, Issa Hayatou, in March — after the Cameroonian strongman had spent 29 years in charge of the continent’s football matters.

Curiously, Kasukuwere — in his Thursday statement — also made reference to Hayatou saying: “I will not go the Hayatou way.”

Kasukuwere’s future as Zanu PF’s national political commissar is currently under serious scrutiny, as eight provinces of the warring ruling party have said they no longer want him to continue in his position.

Insiders have also said it is now clear that what had started as a seemingly hopeless campaign against Kasukuwere had snowballed into “a huge crisis” for him.

Irate party members whom Kasukuwere say are seeking to topple Mugabe from power, accuse the minister of engaging in clandestine activities to destabilise the warring former liberation movement — including bizarre claims of plotting to oust the nonagenarian from power.

Comments (6)

If this is true, well done Mr Chiyangwa - both for not paying the bribe, and for exposing the fact Minister Kasukuwere asked for a $5 mill bribe.

david taylor - 22 April 2017

Thug versus thug. No holds barred corruption and looting wars anything goes. This potrays the dire situation on availability of resources. There is nothing left to steal. Whoever has something becomes the target to keep feeding the greed of others. Economy is just a rotten carcass. Fighting for bones. Independence left overs are finished.

X-MAN IV - 22 April 2017

There is nothing called "friendship" in Zanu PF but convenient, short-term "alliances". This is not surprising from a party that worships violence, ululates for failure and has brought urban Zimbabwe to rural status. Indeed, the size of "Zimbabwe ruins" is now much larger than in Rhodesian times.

Sagitarr - 24 April 2017

Now they are washing their dirty underwear in public. Kasuks was a driver nhai? Inga. Fidza was a Constabulary/Selous Scout in Rhodesia...ende futi!!

Sharia - 24 April 2017

This happened over adecade ago and Chiyangwa is saying it now !!!!!

Mj - 24 April 2017

Well spotted MJ. This is factional. Clearly the knives are out for the bloke. Of coz in the good old days when everything was hunky dory and they got along, a lot of these "greasing the palm" deals took place with no one batting an eyelid. Now that they are at different ends of political desires, one has suddenly become ex-Rhodesian security and the other a mere driver.... The thing to gather fomr all this is they are playing out in the public, for us to comment, to be enraged, kuti tishame kuti nhai vaKasukuwere munodarireyi ko. Or vaChiyangwa idi shuwa kuita mudzakutsaku? And the year is 2017.....like we don't think independently of what they say, like we see these petty bribes and past careers of theirs as the reason why tisina mvura nemagetsi mudzimba umu, tisina mabasa nemari, tisina school fees and so on...

kwidz - 25 April 2017

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