Zanu-PF yesterday vowed that exiled former party commissar Saviour Kasukuwere will not be part of this year’s presidential race unless he has been cleared by the police and Judiciary.
Kasukuwere, also known as Tyson in Zanu-PF circles, has been in exile in South Africa since the 2017 coup that removed the late former President Robert Mugabe.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi recently said Kasukuwere had two pending warrants of arrest for absconding court and failing to surrender his passport to the clerk of court.
Justice ministry secretary Virginia Mabhiza last week told State media that Kasukuwere would face justice once he set foot in Zimbabwe.
But Kasukuwere’s chief election agent, lawyer Jacqueline Sande, has dismissed the allegations saying her client had no pending cases.
The former Cabinet minister is set to contest the August 23 elections as an independent presidential candidate. He will cross words with 10 other candidates among them the incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa (Zanu-PF) and Nelson Chamisa (CCC).
Yesterday, Zanu-PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa told journalists in Harare that Kasukuwere was aware of his pending cases, hence delays in coming to Zimbabwe to launch his presidential campaign.
“We are in the midst of our campaign and Kasukuwere is a non-existent candidate. I repeat he is a non-existent candidate. There are many things he knows he has done and is a thug and the Zimbabwe intelligence services have many things to question him about,” Mutsvangwa said.
“There is no voting booth at the SABC. He appeared on the SABC to impress his funders. You see your image in the mirror of SABC, but you are not present in the country where our President Emmerson Mnangagwa is stamping the ground in Zimbabwe.”
Addressing the media in South Africa last week, exiled former Cabinet minister Walter Mzembi said Kasukuwere was unmoved by the threats.
“No amount of intimidation and weaponisation of the law will intimidate Kasukuwere. He is going to be in Harare,” Mzembi, who is the chairperson of Kasukuwere’s campaign team, said.
Reports indicate that there is panic in Zanu-PF over Kasukuwere’s return over fears that he may eat into the ruling party’s votes in the polls.
Sources said Kasukuwere has been making inroads into Zanu-PF strongholds targeting disgruntled members at a time when the ruling party is divided following chaotic primary elections held in March this year.
Godfrey Tsenengamu, a former Zanu-PF youth boss, told journalists on Tuesday that they had mobilised disgruntled Zanu-PF members to rally behind Kasukuwere’s candidature.
He cited former Zanu-PF Mutare North MP Batsirai Pemhenayi whom he said was recruited to mobilise support in Manicaland.
Pemhenayi lost in the Zanu-PF Mutare North primary elections to Admire Mahachi.
“Comrade Batsirai Pemhenayi has started mobilising some disgruntled party members in the ruling party to join independent candidate Saviour Kasukuwere’s campaign trail,” Tsenengamu said
“Comrade Jim Kunaka (former Zanu-PF youth member) is in charge of organisation and mobilisation this campaign where he is in charge of three provinces — Mashonaland Central, West and Harare.”
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC) has appealed to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to deliver free and fair elections on August 23.
“To Zec: to you is given the important mandate of preparing, facilitating and delivering credible, free and fair elections… work to deliver on your mandate. Attend to the concerns that the citizens are raising and address them. Be people of absolute integrity and objectivity,” the ZCBC statement read.