HARARE – Independent presidential candidate Saviour Kasukuwere’s campaign team believes President Emmerson Mnangagwa initiated the election ban order on his former ally out of fear of losing the poll to the exiled ex-cabinet minister.
Kasukuwere’s nomination as one of Mnangagwa’s 10 challengers was overturned by High Court judge David Mangota on Wednesday.
Mangota ruled the former Zanu PF political commissar could not take part in any Zimbabwean poll as he has been out of the country for more than 18 months as is stipulated in the electoral law.
The challenge was filed by Zanu PF activist Lovedale Mangwana.
On the same day, Kasukuwere filed an urgent Supreme Court appeal, which temporarily overturned the High Court verdict and reinstated his presidential bid.
Addressing the media in Harare on Thursday, Kasukuwere’s chief of staff Munyaradzi Bwanya accused Mnangagwa of manipulating the courts to try and elbow out his challenger, debunking the notion by naysayers that the politician had a tiny stake in the Zimbabwean vote.
“The only person that President Emmerson Mnangagwa is trying to bar from that ballot paper is Kasukuwere; he therefore cannot be the one with the smallest percentage,” he said.
“The biggest challenge to the Mnangagwa administration is Saviour Kasukuwere, not anyone else on that ballot paper.
“Mnangagwa is very comfortable having everyone else on that ballot paper; he is only scared of one person.
“The bravery that President Emmerson Mnangagwa has shown in the past that ‘we are the military, we are the police’ and all of these things that he said he has, suddenly vanished when Kasukuwere’s face showed up on the ballot paper; he is only scared of one person and that is Saviour Kasukuwere.”
Some analysts see Kasukuwere’s presidential bid as a potential threat to Mnangagwa’s bid to command the entire Zanu PF vote since the former party lawmaker has strong links to the ruling party.
According to observers, Kasukuwere could draw support from a section of disgruntled ruling party elements, among them, those now fed up with the incumbent’s leadership style or from late former President Robert Mugabe’s remnant support.
Speaking at the same occasion Thursday, Kasukuwere’s chief convener, Godfrey Tsenengamu, said the politician’s presidential bid was being targeted for fear of harming Mnangagwa’s own re-election ambitions as his challenger has support within and outside Zanu PF.
“What we are currently experiencing is because of elements of cowardice in the current leadership which is running like headless chickens because they are not sure of what is going to happen on the 23rd of August 2023.
“They are very much aware that president Kasukuwere enjoys support even from within and without Zanu PF.
“The leadership of Zanu PF doesn’t know who to trust anymore; so, they think by canceling July from the calendar, they will stop the cold spell and this is not going to happen.
“Cde Kasukuwere is here, his foot soldiers are on the ground within and without the party and we are forging ahead,” said the former Zanu PF youth commissar. — ZimLive