Kasukuwere (SK) told Alpha Media Holdings chairman Trevor Ncube (TN) on the platform In Conversation with Trevor that the sustained gunfire showed that the soldiers were determined to kill them.
He also spoke about their escape from the house and their journey to exile via Mozambique. Below are excerpts from the interview.
TN: Tyson, I am speaking to you, you are somewhere on the continent. I want to take you back to November 16th 2017, where you say your house was attacked by the military. Describe to us what happened prior to that attack, the attack itself and what happened afterwards.
SK: Trevor, I am sure you are aware that there was a build-up to the political challenges within the party (Zanu-PF) at a party level. We had a cabinet meeting on a Tuesday, the day before. While we were in the cabinet meeting, there was obviously conspicuous absences of some members of cabinet, who just did not come for that cabinet meeting. During the course of our cabinet meeting information started filtering through that there was some massive troop build-up around the city of Harare. Later on after the cabinet meeting, I left and went back to the office.
On my way to the office, I got information from some people in the "system" and intelligence circles that I should be careful that night as they might be an attack on my house, Professor (Jonathan) Moyo's house and other colleagues' houses and homes. I was told to just be careful.
I asked them what I should do and thereafter I drove back home with my security team. As I was driving home, Professor Moyo got in touch with me, and he had also picked up information that there was going to be an attempt and people were going to his house that very night to arrest him and pick him up.
Quite some scary stuff. I told him that we should wait to see how it was going to turn out and that we should keep in touch. After an hour or so, Professor Moyo called me again and proposed that he comes to my house with his family so we would be together just in case, whatever happens we would be witnesses together. I agreed and invited him to come over. He came with his family to my house and during that time that is when there were some movements and commotion we were seeing on ZBC television.
We started seeing a different feel of the daily activities going on through the television. We tried to get in touch with other colleagues, several other cabinet ministers, and we were all trying to make head and tail of what was happening. Anyway, after some time we knew that there was some action that was being taken, but we were not very clear.
Certainly, I knew we would be targeted in this exercise for whatever reason. As I sat with Professor Moyo, after some time at about 2am we decided to take a break and go to bed while in my office in the house. We put up on the sofas in the office. As we were about to fall asleep at exactly 2:15pm, we heard a loud bang by the main gate, on the steel gate.
I remember the professor remarking that: "They are here! They are here!" There was a burst of gunfire. Several hundreds of shots were fired towards the house. We were basically under a massive attack. The children, mine and the professor's, came out of their bedrooms and there was confusion and we told the children to go back to their rooms and go under their beds.
We knew things had now taken a different turn. I put on my bulletproof vest and told the children and Professor Moyo that I would stand by the door. The idea was that they wanted to kill us, so if I was at the door and they attempted it, then they would find no reason to go after the children.
If they were going to be kill me, then it would be fine, but the others should go and hide in the bedrooms. It was not easy, Trevor, I must say. For every minute you live through that horror you are literally dying, so to speak. As we were discussing this, bullets were literally flying through into the home.
There was a lot of massive sustained gunfire. My eldest son ran to the main bedroom to get his mother. I would say that it is one of the times one would say to themselves
that there is no longer control of one's destiny, my fate was in the hands of the Lord. Whatever was going to happen to me in the next five to10 minutes I did not know. You basically give up. That is what happens.
So, yes, after 15 minutes or so of extensive fire, and huge explosions that were heard in the neighbourhood, the gunfire then subsided and it all died down. I now understand that in fact the soldiers went into the neighbouring compound and took vantage positions from where they were shooting into my house. After that there was communication and we decided to take the children and ourselves to the former president's house for safety.
We drove to his house and left the children there and the rest is history. When we dropped the children, we decided to find a way out of the country.
TN: Before you go there, Tyson. Professor Moyo said "They are here"? Did you know who they were?
SK: Well, because of the background information we had received that we were going to be attacked that night, we basically knew that there was now some action by the military against us. So, it was not a surprise at all.
In that state, even if we had that information, what could one do? The whole city had been locked down. All the exit points had been closed and each minute new information was filtering through as the tankers and other heavy armour was driving towards our homes. This information was being relayed to us by friends and others, who were telling us to be careful. I would say at that moment we were sitting ducks.
TN: Tell me, Tyson, Sorry to jump in there. Talk to me. Did this surprise you at all? Or like you said you had seen the build-up and were expecting something of this nature? How much did this surprise you?
SK: Trevor, having been in politics for quite some time, I never thought that political differences would be resolved by the use of our security forces. I held faith that whatever were to happen, the army would not get involved. For some reason that is what I believed, and maybe I was being naive, that there was no basis for them to become adjudicators in a political process. This was an internal issue within Zanu-PF. It had no implications whatsoever to the whole being of the entire nation.
It was a matter among individuals who had differences and were not agreeing and had to settle their issues. I thought for the army to get involved in this matter would be stretching their responsibilities.
TN: I will take you back to November 8, 2017, Tyson, where the current president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was then vice-president, after being dismissed, says he fled to Mozambique because of threats against him and his family. So, prior to the attacks on your home, the current president says he himself had been attacked trying to escape threats to his life. So, they had been a pattern Tyson, that was developing. What is your response to that?
SK: Well, where was he attacked?
TN: He says he was attacked at the border according to the reports that we have seen?
SK: Well, I do not know the level of attack, whether he was shot at. For us there was a massive security build-up the way we experienced it. I guess perhaps he just had to also say something about how he had to leave the country. Mind you he was not the first person to be stepped down as vice president or be dismissed. There had been previously Joice Mujuru. There was no such need to run away from the country. That is my personal view.
TN: So your sense is that he should not have run out of the country? He should not have fled to Mozambique and then South Africa thereafter?
SK: Well, I mean he can basically answer that question. From the way I see it, I can only answer this the way I see it. My response was, in as much as he had lost his position in government, he had not lost his position at that moment in the party. I am sure former president (Robert) Mugabe in his judgement would have sat down and discussed the matter with current president Mnangagwa as time went on.
I can say this authoritatively, as one who was there, when a letter was written by current president Mnangagwa at that time, from abroad, to then president Mugabe, raising issues that he had served the former president for a long time, I could see on Robert Mugabe's face, that deep understanding, that deep desire to find a resolution, as I was in the politburo.
So, I to a certain extent thought that whatever differences we were having, whatever was happening at that point in time, these were matters that required sober minds, people to cool off and bring down the temperature, as it were, and discuss.
"In Conversation with Trevor" is a weekly show broadcast on YouTube.com//InConversationWithTrevor. Please get your free YouTube subscription to this channel. The conversations are sponsored by Titan Law.
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