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Mugabe ally Saviour Kasukuwere takes fight to top court in last-ditch bid to stand in Zim election

Mugabe ally Saviour Kasukuwere takes fight to top court in last-ditch bid to stand in Zim election
Zimbabwe's then indigenisation minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, addresses guests at an Impala Platinum event in Harare on 11 January 2013. (Photo: AFP / Jekesai Njikizana)

A former top lieutenant of Zimbabwe’s late former president Robert Mugabe, Saviour Kasukuwere, has approached the apex court in a last-minute bid to rescind his exclusion from participating in this month’s tightly contested general elections.

Exiled former cabinet minister Saviour Kasukuwere has approached Zimbabwe’s top court, seeking to overturn a supreme court ruling upholding his exclusion from contesting for the presidency in general elections set for 23 August, arguing that the ruling violates his constitutional rights. 

Kasukuwere’s appeal to the constitutional court further compounds the pressure on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s preparedness for the elections since it will be forced to postpone the printing of ballot papers pending the appeal outcome.  

The former ruling Zanu-PF party political commissar was blocked from running for the presidency after a high court judge agreed with Zanu-PF activist Lovedale Mangwana who had approached the court arguing that Kasukuwere had surrendered his right to stand for election after staying outside Zimbabwe’s borders for longer than 18 months. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Mugabe ally Saviour Kasukuwere plans appeal after being barred from contesting Zim elections

In court papers filed by Kasukuwere’s attorneys at the constitutional court the politician argues that his constitutional right to participate in Zimbabwe’s electoral processes had been infringed.

“I aver that as a Zimbabwean who has never on any day relinquished his residence status or citizenship, I cannot be barred from participating in an election in which I was duly nominated for by the Zimbabweans. Such a doing affects undoubtedly on my rights as a person,” they read.

Kasukuwere, who was jettisoned into exile in South Africa at the height of the military coup that forced Robert Mugabe to resign, reasoned that the upholding of the high court decision by the supreme court undermined democratic principles. The supreme court did not give reasons for its ruling.

“It is mind-boggling how a finding was reached by the supreme court that I be disqualified from partaking in an election that is people-centered and never to be controlled by the judiciary,” he added.

Nelson Chamisa

Citizens’ Coalition for Change leader Nelson Chamisa at a rally in Chipinge, Zimbabwe, in 2018. (Photo: Frank Chikowore)

Kasukuwere’s latest move comes shortly after another political activist, Jim Kunaka, approached the apex court seeking to overturn the supreme court ruling which, he argued, violated his rights as a citizen to elect a president of his choice.    

Read more in Daily Maverick: Zanu-PF can be defeated if the Zimbabwean diaspora goes home to vote on 23 August

Kasukuwere and other political players, particularly the main opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) led by Nelson Chamisa, accuse President Emmerson Mnangagwa of using the judiciary to target opponents in the run-up to the elections. 

The courts have barred 12 CCC and 87 Movement for Democratic Change parliamentary candidates from taking part in this months’ elections giving the ruling party an edge ahead of the polls.  

Kasukuwere has since written to the Southern Africa Development Community’s chairperson and Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, calling on the regional bloc to act on Mnangagwa’s bullying tactics against the opposition ahead of the polls. 

However, Mnangagwa told journalists last week that Zimbabwean courts were independent of the executive, arguing that he had not personally taken any opponent to court to seek their disqualification from participating in the elections. DM

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