WHILE Zanu PF bigwigs maintain that independent presidential candidate Saviour Kasukuwere is a criminal and should be barred from contesting the August elections, the party’s former political commissar insists he is innocent and was cleared of all wrongdoing.
This week, Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu took a swipe at Kasukuwere, accusing him of being a criminal who fled the country after committing offences, while speaking at a Zanu PF rally in Bulilima district.
Zanu PF activist Lovedale Mangwana is also seeking an order declaring null and void a decision by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to accept Kasukuwere’s nomination papers.
Mangwana says Kasukuwere’s candidature is in a violation of section 91 of constitution, claiming he is not a registered voter.
“I submit that the decision to accept the first respondent’s nomination paper is in breach of section 91(1)(d) of the constitution and invalid,” Mangwana said in the application.
“I was convinced that this circumstance meant that he is no longer a registered voter for any constituency in the republic and, consequently, he does not qualify for candidacy for election to the office of President.”
Kasukuwere secured nomination to contest the 23 August presidential election — against frontrunners President Emmerson Mnangagwa and CCC leader Nelson Chamisa and eight other candidates. Although he is not expected to win the polls, Kasukuwere has brought a new dynamic into the potentially volatile race, raising fears that he could divide the Zanu PF vote – particularly in the Mashonaland provinces — thereby denting Mnangagwa’s re-election bid.
His bid for the presidency has sent shockwaves through the corridors of power, with Zanu PF insiders predicting that he may become the X-factor through his political credentials, gravitas and experience.
Kasukuwere maintains his innocence in the face of accusations. He revealed this in a recent interview with South African Broadcasting Corporation foreign editor Sophie Mkoena.“It starts with the coup that happened in 2017. We found ourselves in heavy sustained gunfire. We had to make way and leave the country immediately. We went out of the country through Mozambique, lived in Kenya for a while and then came back to South Africa,” said Kasukuwere.
“This was when the army, through Mnangagwa, took over power. I came to live here. At the same time in April 2018, I flew back to Zimbabwe, and I said I am coming back to face charges if there are any charges against me. I approached court and was acquitted.
“After the election on 23rd September 2018, I again flew to Zimbabwe when they said I was a wanted person. I flew into Zimbabwe, went through the court process and all the charges were quashed. We did a lot, from calling them to even engaging other liberation movements.
“We went to ANC, and a delegation was sent to engage with Zanu PF with regards to our position. As former comrades we appealed to such institutions, which we felt could understand. From a revolutionary perspective, it appeared they were not interested at all, and we felt like we cannot continue like this.”
This week, Kasukuwere’s chief election agent, Jackie Sande, who is a lawyer, dismissed police claims that there are two warrants of arrest for the aspiring president.
Zimbabwean police say the South African-based Kasukuwere, a former MP and minister, will be arrested if he returns home to campaign for the 23 August presidential election.
Sande says the old warrants are invalid as the related charges that led to them were quashed, hence they are now of no legal force and effect.
Kasukuwere, who has been in court over corruption allegations, fled the country in November 2017 after a bloody coup that was waged by the members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.
Among other crimes, he was accused of parceling out land to Grace Mugabe’s sister.
This week, Kasukuwere said he is coming home to fight the biggest electoral battle of his life. 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 is serious, according to the chairperson of his campaign, Walter Mzembi, also a former Zanu PF minister and MP under the late former president Robert Mugabe.