“People want me to be the leader in leadership renewal, particularly the young people,” the 49-year-old said this week from exile in South Africa.
Initially he had been reluctant to challenge President Emmerson Mnangagwa, he said. But disgruntled members of ZANU-PF and opposition parties had urged him to “take the bull by its horns”.
“People know that I stood by Mugabe,” Kasukuwere said. “As former ZANU-PF political commissar, I am deeply respected within and beyond Zimbabwe.
“I interacted with former [South African] presidents Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma. They know me. I have links with business people with regional interests too.”
There has been widespread speculation that Kasukuwere will challenge for the presidency and his comments are the clearest indication yet that he is ready to do so.
His spokesperson, Ntokozo Msipa, said Kasukuwere’s 10 years in Mugabe’s cabinet meant “he now knows the mistakes that need to be corrected”.
He added: “There’s a need to find a solution to the tough economic and political experiences. The youth comprise about 60% of the total population, and we have been subjected to much suffering.”
Kasukuwere’s political career was cut short by the military coup in November 2017. He and his ally Jonathan Moyo plotted an escape via Mozambique.
Kasukuwere said this week there was international support for his leadership challenge from “friends of Mugabe”, most of them high-ranking politicians, who were also helping him financially.
Kasukuwere has interests in the oil, farming and property sectors in Zimbabwe. But he said living in exile meant he had no direct control of his businesses, and he feared political persecution and attempts on his life if he returned home.
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