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Kasukuwere onslaught now on steroids

by Staff reporter
02 Jul 2023 at 07:47hrs | Views
Zanu-PF has launched yet another bid to block exiled former Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere from challenging President Emmerson Mnangagwa for the presidency in the upcoming elections.

Last week, a Zanu-PF youth member Lovedale Mangwana approached the High Court to block Kasukuwere from contesting for the presidency claiming that he was not a registered candidate.

High Court judge Justice David Mangota on Thursday deferred the matter to July 12, ruling that the Zanu-PF supporter had approached the wrong court.

He said Mangwana was supposed to approach the Electoral Court.

However, after realising that Mangwana's case could have collapsed, another suspected party supporter, George Masters, raised the same application at the Electoral Court.

Masters is seeking an order declaring Kasukuwere ineligible to contest the presidential election.

The application, replicating the one filed by Mangwana and heard by Justice Mangota on June 28, is curiously dated June 26.

Kasukuwere's lawyer Harrison Nkomo said he has not been served with the papers.

"We have not been served with those papers," Nkomo said.

In his founding affidavit, Masters says Kasukuwere had lost his citizenship having been out of the country since 2017 when Mnangagwa and other military commanders led a coup that toppled the late Robert Mugabe.

"The first respondent briefly came to Zimbabwe in 2019 to attend court, but returned to reside in South Africa," Masters submitted.

"Were it not for the court proceedings, the 1st respondent would not have returned.

"It must be noted that upon his return, there was no danger at all to his life but he chose to visit Zimbabwe and return to South Africa.

Masters cited Kasukuwere and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) as the respondents respectively.

Masters said Kasukuwere's candidacy was in violation of section 91 of the constitution ‘which sets out the disqualification for one to run for the office of the president of Zimbabwe.

"The peremptorily disqualification requires that such candidate to be ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe," Masters said.

"I submit that 1st respondent from 2017 to 2023, a period of six years was not ordinarily a resident of Zimbabwe and this 1st respondent does not, in terms of the constitution of Zimbabwe, qualify to run for the office of the president of Zimbabwe."

Kasukuwere has been facing spirited attempts to bar him from contesting the elections, including threats of arrest, after he successfully filed his papers at the nomination court on June 21.

Last week, police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul  Nyathi said two warrants of arrest issued by magistrate Hosea Mujaya in 2019 hovered above Kasukuwere's head.

However, Nkomo dismissed the warrants saying charges against his client were quashed by Justice Tawanda Chitapi and everything linked to the charges automatically fell away.

 "The quashing of the charges rendered everything which depended on them to collapse," Nkomo said.

"Without the foundation upon which the subsequent processes depended, those processes fell to pieces."

The squashing of the charges allowed the applicant to revert to the status quo ante his arrest.

"He became a free man who was entitled not only to the bail which he deposited with the court but also to the title deed of his property.

"He surrendered the same to the court as a way of gaining his freedom. He gained the same when the court quashed the charges."

According to a Friday Government Gazette, Kasukuwere is one of the 11 opposition candidates that will face off with Mnangagwa who is seeking a second term.

Kasukuwere's spokesperson Jacqueline Sande yesterday told The Standard that there was a frenzied attempt to abuse the justice system and frustrate the former minister's presidential bid.

"These are just tricks meant to dampen our spirits and Kasukuwere's spirit and to deter our supporters," Sande said.

"We know that these challenges are frivolous and have no basis at law and they are defective.

"We know that these challenges are futile and the campaign for Kasukuwere to be voted for as the president of Zimbabwe will go on unabated full throttle."

Lawyer Dumisani Dube said he believed Kasukuwere would win the court challenge and stand for the presidency,

"Legally he is still in the race as one of the nominated presidential candidates accepted by the nomination court in terms of the Electoral Act," Dube said.

"If the court decides otherwise he will still assert his rights in the Constitutional Court.

"In my view I think he will be on the ballot paper on the election day in terms of my reading of the Electoral Act, constitution and Precedence."

Constitutional lawyer and professor Welshman Ncube said Kasukuwere's fate was in the hands of the court.

"Gazetting is not a ballot paper, the people who will appear on the ballot paper are those who would have been declared, not properly nominated," Ncube said.

"If the court does declare anyone, it's not only about Kasukuwere, it's about everyone; those who have been declared by the court to have been improperly nominated will obviously not be put on the ballot paper."

Source - The Standard