PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration activated its entire security and bureaucratic machinery which spent the better part of last week hunting for exiled former Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere after receiving false intelligence that he had sneaked into the country and met with opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa in Masvingo, NewZimbabwe.com can exclusively reveal.
This came after a false intelligence alert indicating the former Zanu PF national political commissar had sneaked into the country from his South Africa base and help a meeting with Chamisa in the ancient city was sent out, jolting government into action
Intelligence and official sources told NewZimbabwe.com that the information about Kasukuwere’s presence in the country was received on Monday and it led to Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives and information officers in the ministry of Information being despatched to gather as much information as they could in what turned out to be week-long wild goose chase.
Sources said Deputy Information minister Kindness Paradza convened a meeting of all information officers at the Munhumutapa government office complex Monday and instructed them to “diligently hunt for every little bit of information about the meeting between Kasukuwere and Chamisa”.
Kasukuwere fled the country at the height of the November 2017 military coup which toppled the late former president Robert Mugabe and ushered in a new administration led by the incumbent, Mnangagwa.
He was a key member of the Generation 40 faction of Zanu PF which engaged in a fierce political gamesmanship with Mnangagwa in a deadly succession fight which saw the military stepping in and tilting the odds on Mnangagwa’s side.
He briefly returned into the country in 2019 and got arrested on multiple charges, including corruption and abuse of office.
“We were told that there had been an intelligence alert indicating that Kasukuwere had sneaked into the country and met with Chamisa on Monday in Masvingo. So everyone activated their contacts and it later turned out to be a hoax. The security apparatus was also despatched to scurry for the same information,” an official source said.
“It was deputy minister Paradza who gave the instruction and feedback has since been given to him that this was a false alarm,” the source said.
Kasukuwere dismissed the claims in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com Saturday.
“It’s all lies. I don’t know what they are trying to achieve. I was never in the country,” he said.
Chamisa’s spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda said the move showed extreme desperation by a cornered and panicking regime.
“The system is now panicking, it is understandable that Zanu PF is aware that president Chamisa is the inevitable leader of the people,” Sibanda said.
“Why else would so many resources be used in investigating a meeting that never was,” he said.
Efforts to get comments from Paradza were fruitless as calls on his mobile number went unanswered.
Kasukuwere has often been touted as a potential threat to Zanu PF’s stranglehold on power and was last year rumoured to have formed his own opposition party which would contest the 2023 general election.
Chamisa on the other hand has been giving the ruling party headaches with his visits to predominantly Zanu PF controlled rural areas across the country.
He has so far toured five provinces.