Former Zimbabwean minister acquitted of illegal travel offence


A former Zimbabwean minister was on Wednesday acquitted of charges of illegally crossing the border into neighbouring Mozambique.

Mr Saviour Kasukuwere reportedly made the illegal trip during the military operation that led to President Robert Mugabe’s ouster last year.

The former Local Government minister returned home last month after six months in exile and was immediately arrested for allegedly violating the country’s immigration laws.

Bullet holes

However, he was acquitted by a Harare magistrate after a two-day trial on the grounds that his life was in danger when he sneaked out of the country.

The magistrate said the ruling Zanu-PF party’s former commissar did a reasonable thing by escaping to save his life.

She said the court made the judgement after seeing bullet holes and empty cartridges at Mr Kasukuwere’s house.

The previous day, court officials had inspected the former minister’s house and found at least 100 spent cartridges following an attack by the army on November 15, 2017.

At the time the military, which had put Mr Mugabe and his family under house arrest, said it was targeting criminals around the 94-year-old ruler.

Mr Kasukuwere told the court during the inspection that he was awoken by gunfire at 2am.

He said when the shooting stopped, he fled the house with colleagues who had taken refuge at the property, before they sneaked to Mozambique.

Alleged corruption

At least four ministers who were close to Mr Mugabe fled into exile and Mr Kasukuwere was the first to return home.

The whereabouts of three others remains unknown although they were active on social media.

The military said it was forced to intervene in November last year because Mr Mugabe had been surrounded by criminals, who were abetting the country’s economic collapse. Only two former ministers have been charged for alleged corruption.

Former Finance and Mines ministers Ignatius Chombo and Walter Chidhakwa respectively, were brought before the courts but their trials have stalled due to unclear circumstances.

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