LATE former President Robert Mugabe was left with only two weeks to resign at the Zanu PF national conference before he was unceremoniously removed from office in a military-led coup in November 2017.
This was said by former Zanu PF national commissar and then government minister, Saviour Kasukuwere.
Kasukuwere, now in self-imposed exile in South Africa was speaking on Wednesday morning in an interview with SABC in Johannesburg over Mugabe's death in Singapore last Friday.
He said Mugabe's death was "painful".
Kasukuwere made the remarks soon after returning to South Africa from Singapore where he had travelled to pay his last respects to Mugabe's widow, Grace.
He is regarded as one of the influential members in Zanu PF G40 faction which was once involved in a fierce fight for party control with a military backed faction that was being led by then Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The G40 members have since been expelled from the party and a number of them including Jonathan Moyo, Patrick Zhuwao, Walter Mzembi and Mandi Chimene having fled Zimbabwe.
"Lots of statements were made in Zanu PF after he (Mugabe) was removed that he had brought sanctions.
"To caricature such as man because you want power is unfortunate. President Mugabe was two weeks away from stepping down as president of Zimbabwe," Kasukuwere said in what appeared to be his first interview after he fled Zimbabwe for the second time last year since the 2017 coup.
In December 2017, Zanu PF was set to find a new Vice President at its annual conference after Mnangagwa had been fired by Mugabe.
Kasukuwere claimed Mugabe was also going to step down at the conference.
The one time central intelligence officer during Mugabe's rule added that he knew Mugabe was going to be toppled one day, but still chose to side with the late leader than Mnangagwa.
Turning to Mugabe, Kasukuwere said the former strongman's death was painful adding Mugabe was harassed by senior Zanu PF officials after he was removed from office.
"It was painful. This is not an easy occasion. It speaks a lot about the concerns that the people have on the unfair behaviour of people who have taken over the country," he said.
Kasukuwere said he was not privy to where Mugabe had said he wanted would want to be buried but said the ex-President's wishes must be respected.
"I know him very well. He knew that he was no longer feeling well and made a decision of where he would be buried. Let's respect that although I am not privy to what he said, but let's respect.
"It was only befitting that I travelled to Singapore and bid him farewell."
The former Mount Darwin legislator hinted he was not going to attend Mugabe's burial because of his own security concerns.
"It is now a security issue to attend the funeral. I went back to Zimbabwe in May last year when Mnangagwa said 'let bygones be bygones', but I was arrested for border jumping before fresh charges were brought against me and I was acquitted and the magistrate was fired," he said.
Kasukuwere said the death of Mugabe must bring the people of Zimbabwe together.
"We can't give ourselves funny names like Zimbabwe is Open for Business and such nonsense," he said while referrying to Mnangagwa's famous mantra.
"We need an honest conversation with President Mnangagwa. Zimbabwe's economy is a concern for everyone. What the country needs now is for the people to come together. Let's lower the volume and listen to each other. We are the authors of our own misery," he said.
The former Local Government Minister said he remained a Zanu PF card-carrying member despite his expulsion from the party in December 2017.
"I am a player in Zimbabwean politics. I still carry my Zanu PF membership card. Zanu PF needs reform," he said.