Savior Kasukuwere’s plans to challenge President Emmerson Mnangagwa in next month’s elections have hit a snag after a Zanu PF supporter launched a court bid to block his candidacy.
Lovedale Mangwana, a loyal Zanu PF member, argued in the High Court this week that Kasukuwere is not eligible to stand for president since he has been out of the country for more than 18 months.
Kasukuwere fled Zimbabwe after the 2017 military coup that ousted former President Robert Mugabe. He has been living in self-imposed exile ever since.
In his court application, Mangwana claimed that Kasukuwere is no longer a registered voter in Zimbabwe and therefore cannot legally stand as a presidential candidate.
He claims the Electoral Commission’s decision to accept Kasukuwere’s nomination papers was “null and void” and in breach of the Constitution.
However, ZEC defended its decision, advising Mangwana to approach the Electoral Court if he wished to challenge Kasukuwere’s nomination.
The High Court judge hearing the case has delayed making a ruling and deferred the matter to July 12.
Kasukuwere’s sh0ck presidential bid has divided opinion in Zanu PF. Some hardliners oppose his return, claiming he is part of the “G40 faction” that wanted to oust Mnangagwa.
But others argue Kasukuwere still has support in the party and could split the pro-Mnangagwa vote, possibly benefiting opposition candidate Nelson Chamisa.
Only time will tell if exiled Kasukuwere will be allowed to contest the elections – or if Zanu PF loyalists like Mangwana can keep him off the ballot paper.