INDEPENDENT presidential candidate Saviour Kasukuwere says he will be jetting into the country next week to fight the biggest political battle of his life in the 23 August general elections, despite fears of imminent arrest by police, The NewsHawks has learnt.
Kasukuwere, widely regarded as the X-factor in Zimbabwe’s general election, fled the country in November 2017 after a military coup that toppled long-time ruler Robert Mugabe.
Last month, he flew a kite, to check if Mnangagwa would arrest him if he comes back.
A source said: “He bought an air ticket through a travel agency and checked in online. He then sent the list of passengers — in which he was number 34 — and later a manifest to his contacts in Harare who quickly leaked that to Mnangagwa’s circles and state security agents. They reacted quickly and deployed intelligence agents to wait for him at the airport, ready to pounce and arrest him.”
This time, Kasukuwere whose campaign has already begun, said he is coming to Zimbabwe next week despite threats of arrest by the police.
“I am not yet in Zimbabwe, but will be on my way i
n the next week,” Kasukuwere said in an interview with a Nigerian news channel, News Central TV.
“In spite of what was done to me, shooting, attack on my house, and being left for dead. I left the country. But when they raised that I and others had criminal charges, I against the advice of many, flew back to my country to clear my name.
“I went back to Zimbabwe fully aware that the system that was in charge was fully opposed to me, and I was prepared to spend time in jailed had I been charged. The first charge, of border jumping, was dismissed because I went to court and proved beyond any reasonable doubt that my house was under attack, there was gunfire all over, and I had no option but to leave.
“This is very much part of the law in terms on the Roman-Dutch law statutes of our country, in terms of the Refugees Act and so forth,” he said.
Kasukuwere said the threats of arrest show Mnangagwa’s growing fear of facing him in the polls.
“Secondly, in regards to the charges laid against me in terms of abuse of office, they were clearly just charges that they thought would stick. We were able to go to court, we accepted the charges, there was an exception and an application was made, and those charges were quashed, meaning that the case upon which the warrant of arrest rested fell. So, you cannot partly give me my bail back, my security and houses back, and then say there is a warrant of arrest that was hidden.
“This is all archival material. This is material that is now in the registry, a closed case which, because they are scared and know that I will win the election, they have now resorted to these dirty tactics of trying to threaten me.
“The last one was that I did not return the passport. On the contrary, I even applied to renew the passport, and they gave me another one. So, all these charges are just child’s play. They are not serious. I am a law-abiding citizen.
“If I could go back to courts, I was not scared because I knew I was innocent, and to this day, I am an innocent man and they are desperate right now looking for every little thing. Even issues they know do not even exist, they have been trying to make them issues because they are scared,” Kasukuwere said.
Mnangagwa’s growing fear of Kasukuwere’s political influence has reached hysterical levels, as his government and proxies continue to intensify authoritarian repression ahead of the crucial August general elections.
In a new repressive measure, Mnangagwa’s regime is now demanding that before poll candidates could put up their billboards along national highways, they need approval from some state provincial regulatory authorities.
Kasukuwere, whose campaign team has hit the ground running, has also been placing billboards along Zimbabwe’s major roads.
Last week, Kusukuwere’s team told The NewsHawks that Zanu PF leaders are growing scared and resorting to lawfare as shown by the ruling party’s attempts to bar him from contesting.
This was after Kasukuwere found himself temporarily out of the presidential race after High Court judge David Mangota nullified his Zimbabwe Electoral Commission nomination to contest in the 23 August elections.
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 also a lawyer, told The NewsHawks that Zanu PF bigwigs are worried by his candidature and political traction.