Zanu-PF bid to derail Kasukuwere phenomenon

Saviour Kasukuwere
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HARARE – Zimbabwean politician Saviour Kasukuwere, popularly known as “Tyson” for his combative politics as a Young Turk in Zanu-PF, might suffer a technical knockout ahead of the Zimbabwe elections on 23 August.

The 53-year-old, once the youngest minister under Robert Mugabe, is facing court action a Zanu-PF youth activist instituted against him alongside the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

In court papers, Lovedale Mangwana argued that Kasukuwere was away from Zimbabwe for 18 months and so, “does not qualify to be a candidate to the election of the president of the Republic of Zimbabwe”.

He said he was “puzzled” that Kasukuwere’s papers were accepted at the nomination court.

However, Kasukuwere’s election agent, Jacqueline Sande, told journalists that “this (case) too shall fall flat on its face as all other frivolous allegations”.

Since announcing his candidature last week, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa dismissed Kasukuwere as “one of those”, but Zanu-PF has been at pains to deal with Kasukuwere because he enjoys support from within the ruling party, particularly former Mugabe loyalists.

On Monday, Kasukuwere said: “We have embarked on a journey, and there will be no turning back.”

In his team is Walter Mzembi, Mugabe’s last foreign affairs minister, exiled to South Africa after the November 2017 putsch.

Mzembi is the convenor and chairperson of the Kasukuwere bid.

At a press briefing, he said his principal was not going to be stopped by any form of intimidation.

“No amount of threats or intimidation will deter President Kasukuwere from his impending travel to Harare,” he said.

For some, the support Kasukuwere attracted on social media was unfair.

The United Zimbabwe Alliance’s Elisabeth Valerio tweeted that only those who had no clear conscience would side with Kasukuwere:

Someone said to me today: ‘If Jesus himself were on the ballot, Zimbabweans would not vote for him.’

“This got me thinking about all the heroism Kasukuwere has received recently on social media. Are Zimbabweans turning a blind eye and forgetting that for a time, Saviour Kasukuwere was the vanguard for much of the injustice and exploitation in our country? Only the amoral would seek refuge in Kasukuwere.

“Do we no longer know the difference between right and wrong? Have we lost all sense and ethics – perhaps as a consequence of having lived for so long in such a highly corrupt society? Will Zimbabwe ever wake up?” she said.

Valerio failed to make it to the last 11 of the presidential election candidates whose papers the ZEC accepted.

She has since launched a court challenge because she claimed that she was disqualified for a failure to submit satisfactory proof of payment of nomination fees, despite having paid. – News24