Zim elections: Kasukuwere suffers constitutional setback but vows to fight on

Saviour Kasukuwere (Image: ZimLive)
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HARARE – The constitutional court on Tuesday refused to hear Saviour Kasukuwere’s appeal challenging his exclusion from the presidential race in Zimbabwe’s all-important general elections due in about two weeks’ time.

Kasukuwere had exhausted most avenues to challenge a suit by Zanu-PF activist Lovedale Mangwana and was left with the constitutional court, the final court of appeals for all matters relating to the constitution of Zimbabwe.

Mangwana argued that Kasukuwere was not eligible to stand in the presidential race on the grounds that he had been away from the country for more than 18 continuous months.

Deputy chief justice, Elizabeth Gwaunza, delivered the judgment, dismissing Kasukuwere’s case.

“On a consideration of the submission made before us, it seems the first issue is whether the application is properly before this court.

“The applicant moves for the setting aside of the whole judgment of the supreme court. This relief is ordinarily available on appeal.

“Apart from attacking the correctness of the decision of the court, the applicant did not attack the supreme court on how it handled the matter in terms of the rules of court.

He said:

The court finds that the application, being a disguised appeal, is not properly before the court. The application is hereby dismissed with no order as to costs.

Kasukuwere’s lawyers from the onset had argued that his name had not been removed from the voters’ roll in accordance with sections 27 and 28 of the Electoral Act, so he was still a registered voter.

They also raised the fact that Mangwana did not put forward any evidence to show that Kasukuwere had been absent from the country for 18 months.

Kasukuwere was nicknamed “Tyson” after retired American boxer Mike Tyson, for his combative politics, had vowed to take on President Emmerson Mnangagwa “pound for pound”.

Responding to the constitutional court decision, Kasukuwere said, “It opens new avenues for us to appeal the Supreme Court judgment”.

He added that “as long as the courtrooms are open, it’s game on until the fat lady sings”.

His lawyer, Jaqueline Sande said they were still fighting to get him on the ballot paper and would make sure Zimbabweans were not “frogmarched to a compromised election”.

Because Gwaunza noted that Kasukuwere’s approach at the constitutional court was “a disguised appeal”, Sande said they would take it back to the supreme court.

Kasukuwere announced his intention to stand for election in July.

He presented himself as a third option in a race that was largely seen as a toss-up between Mnangagwa and Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa for the presidency.

In parliament, Kasukuwere had his hopes pinned on independent candidates.

While Chamisa told journalists that he didn’t see a threat in Kasukuwere, within Zanu-PF he was a possible danger.

His announcement of running for the top job was directed at Zanu-PF members disgruntled with Mnangagwa, particularly those who were pro-Robert Mugabe before the November 2017 coup. – News24