President Emmerson Mnangangwa of the ruling ZANU PF party and CCC leader Nelson Chamisa successfully filed their nomination papers yesterday, officially entering the race for the top job in Zimbabwe’s presidential elections set for August, NewsDay reported.
Several other presidential hopefuls are expected to submit their candidacy today, including exiled former Minister Saviour Kasukuwere who intends to run as an independent. Lovemore Madhuku of the NCA and MDC-A leader Douglas Mwonzora will also throw their hats into the ring.
Kasukuwere and DUZ leader Robert Chapman are seen as longshot candidates but remain determined to try their luck. Hopefuls must pay a hefty fee of US$20,000 to enter the presidential race while MPs and senators pay US$1,000 and US$100 respectively.
Political watchers expressed doubt that Kasukuwere would be able to submit his nomination from exile, with analyst Eldred Masunugure calling it “improbable unless a pact has been crafted”.
But Ibbo Mandaza of SAPES Trust said “Apparently, the warrant of arrest was mala fides and should have been put aside already. A candidate doesn’t have to be physically present at the nomination court. It’s the task of an election agent.”
In a lengthy letter addressed to Zimbabweans, former Zanu PF commissar Kasukuwere explained that his decision to run as an independent candidate was motivated by his desire to challenge the culture of fear and restore hope in the country.
He explained that he missed two opportunities to contest for the party presidency in December 2017 and September 2022 because the party congress did not allow for fair competition. He expressed disappointment that the party failed to unite its members, forgive the past, and reconcile for the future of the revolution.
Kasukuwere lamented that despite promises to let bygones be bygones and restore the legacy and values of the liberation movement, the party continued to engage in exclusionary politics and persecution of members who had loyally served the people, the party, the government, and the late founding President Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe.
He stated that the current president, Cde Mnangagwa, could not have won any leadership position in a fair and open political process without intimidation and abuse of state institutions.
Kasukuwere, who is living in exile in South Africa, noted that Zimbabweans had given Mnangagwa and Zanu PF the space to govern after the coup, but the president failed to live up to his promises and squandered the goodwill.