A former Tourism Minister of Zimbabwe Walter Mzembi who is currently in self-imposed exile, has criticized President Emmerson Mnangagwa for allegedly trying to obstruct Saviour Kasukuwere’s candidacy for the presidency in the upcoming elections.
This comes after a ZANU PF activist, Lovedale Mangwana, filed an application requesting the court to prevent Kasukuwere from running on the basis that he is no longer a registered voter in his constituency due to being absent for more than 18 consecutive months.
Mangwana argued that accepting Kasukuwere’s nomination papers violated the constitution and the Electoral Act, which stipulates that a voter who has not resided in a constituency for an uninterrupted period of 18 months cannot have their name retained on the voters’ roll for that constituency.
Saviour Kasukuwere has been in self-imposed exile in South Africa since 2017, following the ousting of former President Robert Mugabe. In response to the application, Walter Mzembi criticized President Mnangagwa, accusing him of electoral cowardice and fear of Kasukuwere. Mzembi argued that if internal party divisions and diversity cannot be managed without resorting to expulsions, it will lead to rebellion and dissent.
The High Court is set to determine Kasukuwere’s eligibility to contest in the presidential election on June 29th. Kasukuwere, who registered as an independent candidate, will have his case presented in court by his legal team. Kasukuwere’s spokesperson, Jacqueline Sande, expressed confidence that he will be allowed to run, stating that there is no valid case to prevent his candidacy.
Some observers have raised concerns about the clause in the Electoral Act that disqualifies individuals who have been out of their constituencies for a specific period from participating in elections. They argue that this provision may affect Zimbabweans living abroad who return home to vote during elections.
The issue raises uncertainty for many Zimbabweans in exile or working in neighboring countries who are still listed on the voters’ roll and whether they will be prevented from returning home to vote.