FORMER Cabinet minister Jonathan Moyo has for the first time revealed how he escaped from the jaws of the military during Operation Restore Legacy, where the army pounced on several houses belonging to G40-linked senior Zanu PF officials.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
In an interview from an unknown location with BBC’s Zeinab Badawi on HARDtalk yesterday, Moyo said he was alerted earlier on about the military’s strike during Operation Restore Legacy, prompting him to seek refuge at his former Cabinet colleague and G40 ally Saviour Kasukuwere’s house.
“On that day, the military specifically targeted my house and myself with a clear intention to cause harm and that is why I am not in the country, although I left legally,” he said.
“I am not at liberty to disclose my whereabouts because they have shown a very clear and determined intention to find me and harm me wherever I am.
“On the morning of November 15, around 2:30am Zimbabwean time, between 15 to 25 heavily-armed SAS (Special Air Service) soldiers came to my residence and they destroyed the gate and entrance to my house and shot their way into every room looking for me, but fortunately they didn’t find me and none of the members of my family were there because I had been forewarned the previous night that I should not spend the night at my house and that I should take every member of my family with me out of the house.”
On the day in question, the army laid siege at Kasukuwere, Moyo and former Finance minister Ignatius Chombo’s homes, resulted in the arrest of former Zanu PF youth leader Kudzanai Chipanga.
This was Moyo’s first interview after the military takeover which resulted in the ouster of President Robert Mugabe and inauguration of Emmerson Mnangagwa as his successor.
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Moyo, who expressed unwillingness to return to Zimbabwe under Mnangagwa’s rule, started off by chronicling how he left the country, refuting claims he sought refuge at Mugabe’s Blue Roof private residence in Borrowdale Brooke, Harare.
It is widely believed Moyo sought refuge at Mugabe’s home, but he was at pains to refute this, insisting he had been “saved by angels”.
There were reports that Mugabe had negotiated Moyo and Kasukuwere’s safe passage.
“That is false,” he said.
Moyo said his house was attacked almost the same time as Kasukuwere’s, illustrating that they were targeted.
“When they came to attack Saviour Kasukuwere’s house about 2:30am on November 15, they subjected it to some 15 minutes of gunfire,” he narrated.
“Amazingly after 15 minutes they had surrounded the house and the sounds of gunfire just went silent and we waited there for about 10 minutes and there was no movement or sign of any presence of these special forces that had surrounded the house.”
Moyo said they managed to get out of the house and embarked on a journey to leave Zimbabwe “legally”.
He described those who helped him to leave the country as angels for their role in saving their lives.
Moyo refused to say how they were helped or the route they used, but emphasised that he left when Mugabe was still President.
“I left Zimbabwe with the help of people, who to me are angels, because they saved lives and I am not at liberty to say who helped me, how they helped me and how I left Zimbabwe except to say I left Zimbabwe when President Mugabe was President of the country and I left with the assistance of these people legally,” he said.
“I managed to escape the net of the military people and to be where I am legally.”
Moyo said international law should apply to protect him from harassment and harm from the Zimbabwe army, as he left without a warrant of arrest against him.
He said he had not been in touch with former First Lady Grace Mugabe since he left, insisting those who were opposed to Mugabe’s wife’s ascendancy to the Vice-Presidency were in the minority.
Moyo said he looks forward to speaking with Mugabe.