Zim court frees Grace Mugabe ally, says 'acted reasonably to save his life'

A former ally of ex-first lady Grace Mugabe, who was facing charges of unlawfully skipping the country has reportedly been acquitted.

According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, magistrate Josephine Sande acquitted Saviour Kasukuwere, a former local government minister in ex-president Robert Mugabe's government, saying "he did a reasonable thing to save his life".

Sande said the court had taken into account the bullet holes and empty cartridges which were noticed at his house.

Kasukuwere's release came a day after he had told the court that he fled into "the jungles" of Mozambique out of fear for his life after his Harare home was attacked by soldiers on the night of November 14.

He spent at least six months in exile in South Africa, but returned to Harare last month. He was arrested days later on charges of breaching the immigration act for leaving the country illegally.

His lawyer, Jonathan Samkange, told the Harare Magistrates' Court his client acted out of fear for his life.

"The attackers were not robbers but targeted him personally and as such he became a refugee," the private Daily News quotes Samkange as saying.

"No one wants to die and he did the right thing to save his life when he was targeted by AK rifles."

Kasukuwere was alleged to be part of the G40 faction in the ruling Zanu-PF party that orchestrated the sacking of then vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa on November 6.

It was that action that triggered the army takeover and ex-president Mugabe's resignation days later.

Other G40 figures who remained in exile included former higher education minister Jonathan Moyo and former labour minister, Patrick Zhuwao.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook