HARARE – Exiled presidential candidate Saviour Kasukuwere has written to DRC President Félix Tshisekedi asking him to use his influence as SADC chairperson to help end alleged abuse of Zimbabwean courts by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in what has seen his own ban from challenging the incumbent and the blocking of opposition rallies, among other political transgressions.
In a letter dated 18 July, Kasukuwere also raised concerns with Zimbabwe’s enactment of the Patriotic Act and what he terms the militarisation of domestic politics under his former ally.
“We firmly believe that political leadership should not be dictated by the barrel of a gun, and the increasing militarization of Zimbabwean politics is deeply unsettling,” said the politician, hounded into exile 2017 when the military ousted former President Robert Mugabe to install Mnangagwa.
“Such praetorian politics have historically resulted in repression and plunder, rather than fostering genuine democratic principles and development.”
Kasukuwere said the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Amendment Bill, 2022, now known as the Patriotic Act, for all its noble objectives, would be abused to “restrict the activities of government critics, civil society organizations, opposition groups, and the media”.
The controversial legislation criminalises acts perceived as “willfully injuring the sovereignty and national interest of Zimbabwe,” as well as participating in meetings that promote calls for economic sanctions against the country.
He added, “The broad scope of the law could potentially hinder the interaction between these entities and foreign diplomats and international development workers engaged in humanitarian causes.
“Such interactions often shed light on local leadership, government policies, shortcomings, human rights violations, and corruption.
“The implications of this law raise concerns about the ability to freely express dissenting opinions and expose crucial issues that need attention.”
The one-time Zanu PF political commissar also said Zimbabwe’s opposition was being impeded from campaigning and have had to take the trouble to challenge the ban on its rallies through the courts.
Kasukuwere also touched on the recent nullification of his nomination – which he has since challenged – saying this was cause for concern over lack of an impartial judiciary.
“The recent ruling on my candidature, has once again brought this issue to the forefront, further disenfranchising the Zimbabwean diaspora community.
“The manipulation of the judiciary to restrict the democratic space is a desperate tactic that should be condemned by all those who value democracy and fairness.”
Kasukuwere called on the SADC chair to use his influence to help restore a level playing field in Zimbabwe.
“Your Excellency, we earnestly request that you use your esteemed position and influence to address these pressing issues within the SADC organization and the region at large.
“It is our hope that these concerns will be given due prominence and deliberation, as they are critical to upholding democratic values, fostering stability, and ensuring the well-being of the Zimbabwean people,” he wrote. – ZimLive