INDEPENDENT presidential candidate Saviour Kusukuwere’s team says Zanu PF leaders are growing scared and resorting to lawfare as shown by the ruling party’s attempts to bar him from contesting.
On Wednesday, Kasukuwere, widely regarded as a threat to the ruling party, found himself temporarily out of the presidential race after High Court judge David Mangota nullified his nomination to contest in the 23 August elections by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
Justice Mangota agreed that Kasukuwere had ceased to be a registered voter as he has been out of his constituency for over 18 consecutive months.
The judgment came after an urgent court application by a Zanu PF activist, Lovedale Mangwana, who challenged Kasukuwere’s nomination and sought that he be disqualified because he has been living outside Zimbabwe for more than 18 months.
However, the ruling has been suspended after Kasukuwere’s legal team, led by Harrison Nkomo, appealed to the Supreme Court on Thursday.
Kasukuwere’s chief election agent, Jacqueline Sande, who is a lawyer, told The NewsHawks that Zanu PF bigwigs are worried by his candidature and political traction.
“There have never been concerted efforts to remove a candidate from the ballot, and I am saying that it is politically motivated, and it is wrong to try and use the law to bar a candidate from participating and thus barring them from choosing a leader of their choice,” she said on the sidelines of a Press conference in Harare.
“We feel that the High Court ruling was improperly arrived at and we believe that the Supreme Court can arrive at a different decision. We have seen the attacks that have been aimed at president Kasukuwere the minute that he announced that he wanted to stand.
“We have seen that there have been efforts to bar him using legal means. This is very unfortunate because it is like trying to use the law to disenfranchise president Kasukuwere. Not just him, but Zimbabweans in general. This has not been done before.”
Last week, Sande dismissed police claims that there are two warrants of arrest for the aspiring president. Kasukuwere maintains his innocence in the face of accusations, saying he has been cleared of any wrongdoing twice by Zimbabwean courts.
Former Zanu PF youth league commissar who joined Kasukuwere’s team, Godfrey Tsenengamu, said the just-ignited legal warfare is politically motivated.
“From our point of view, this whole thing is politically motivated, because you would find out that there are a number of candidates who do not even reside in their constituencies.
He votes in Sherwood, but he stays at Number 1 Chamberlain (Borrowdale),” Tsenengamu told The NewsHawks.
“And, he is the one who is seeking to disqualify others on the grounds that they are not resident in the constituencies that they are registered. Even if you look at the candidates, those who vote in Budiriro and other places. They do not stay there, they just go there to vote, but they have not been disqualified.
“So, this is because our political opponents know that our candidate poses a serious threat to their chances of winning on 23 August. If you look at the people that have approached the courts, it will tell you that those people do not have the capacity to push legal matters and to also even pay those teams of advocates that are fighting for their case.
“So, you can see that there is a hidden hand and they are just pawns in this whole game. Our case is very strong. If the courts are not going to be manipulated, we stand a very good chance of winning the case because there is not even a case in the first place.”
As previously reported by The NewsHawks, Zanu PF leaders have been itching to ban Kasukuwere’s presidential bid.