FORMER Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe’s nephew, Patrick
Zhuwao says he
won’t be returning to Zimbabwe anytime soon as his safety isn’t guaranteed.
Zhuwao, who was in South Africa and on his way back to
Zimbabwe when he got wind of last month’s military takeover, said his farm had
been looted and his workers beaten.
'Pray for those in power'
"When one looks at attacks launched on my farm and farm
workers who were frog-marched and severely beaten just for working for me, it
is enough evidence that my safety is not guaranteed," Zhuwao told the
private Standard newspaper in a phone interview from South Africa.
"People can say I ran away, yes I did. It’s better than
to wait to be killed," Zhuwawo was quoted as saying.
He called on the country’s religious leaders to "pray
for those who are in power to be humane and not persecute people".
Zhuwao served as labour and social welfare minister under
Mugabe’s last government. The dreadlocked 50-year-old was a key ally of former
first lady Grace Mugabe and a member of the G40 group of younger ruling party
officials who had been on the ascendancy just one month ago before the military
stepped in to crush their political aspirations.
Zhuwao said his uncle had stepped down voluntarily on
November 21 to prevent the country’s descent into turmoil.
Political career over
"The decision by him to accept to be forced out was
largely informed by his desire not to see people of Zimbabwe go into a period
of turbulence," he said.
Zhuwao suggested his own political career was also at an
end. "My political life existed for the duration of President Mugabe’s
tenure," he said. "The options that were there politically for me was
to become disloyal to him and that to me was not acceptable."
Zhuwao is the son of Mugabe's late sister, Sabina, who died
seven years ago.