FORMER Cabinet minister and Zanu PF commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere yesterday told a Harare magistrate that he escaped death by a whisker last November when the military pumped over 113 rounds of live ammunition into his mansion, forcing him to flee the country.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Addressing court officials during an inspection-in-loco at his Glen Lorne villa, Kasukuwere claimed the military also fired some shots at a nearby Zesa booster in a bid to cut off power supplies to his house on the night of the attack.
The ex-minister has, however, denied charges of illegally exiting the country, saying he had to seek “political refuge” after his life was put under threat from external aggressors.
During the inspection, he led court officials to several sections of his bullet-riddled precast wall.
He also showed them a hole on the main gate which he claimed was caused by a bullet which pierced through the mansion’s bullet-proof windows and landed in his bedroom where he was sleeping.
The court also observed bullet holes in the kitchen, lounge and several other rooms.
“It was around 5pm on November 14 when we started to hear rumours that there were some movements in the central business district and other areas. My family later retired to bed and I remained behind to check if the situation was normal,” Kasukuwere told the court.
“Early November 15 at exactly 0215 hours, I heard a huge bang at my gate and the alarm went off and for the next 15 minutes there was a deafening gunfire attack. It was, to say the least, a difficult moment. During that period, I thought how best to save my children and colleagues who were in the house. There was no time to close doors and to see who was in the house. We took the children to safety and we immediately left.”
Kasukuwere claimed that after escaping the gunfire, he moved out of the city through dusty roads and the next thing, he and his family and friends were in Mozambique.
“The experience was quite emotional and it is one of the occasions you don’t want to think about. Your worship, the only available option was to flee the country and seek refuge where I thought my protection would be guaranteed,” he said.
“My state of mind was not stable, your worship. While in the bushes fleeing, I thought that in the next five minutes or seconds I could be dead as I thought the attackers were following me.”
Kasukuwere said he could not positively identify his attackers, but denied State suggestions that he could have been attacked by armed robbers.
He claimed that he was targeted for being one of the alleged “criminals surrounding” former President Robert Mugabe.
When asked why he chose to skip the border instead of seeking cover at a local police station, Kasukuwere said: “Your worship, the evidence of who did what is there for everyone to see. I am a Zimbabwean that is why I am back now. If they want to shoot me today, tomorrow or any other day, I don’t have any problem with that, but I am back in my own country.”
His lawyer Jonathan Samkange said his client’s escape was similar to the way the late Chief Rekayi Tangwena facilitated Mugabe and the late Edgar Tekere to cross into Mozambique through an illegal exit point during the liberation war.
“Your worship, if Kasukuwere had gone through the border he could have been killed by the attackers. Chief Tangwena did not participate in a war, but he was only conferred hero status for assisting Mugabe and Tekere to flee the country through an undesignated point of exit,” he said.
The lawyer pleaded with the court to consider his client’s application for discharge.
Magistrate Sande is today expected to rule on the application.