‘Mnangagwa is sensing defeat, has resorted to changing the rules in the middle of the contest’

His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces Cde ED Mnangagwa with Commander ZDF General Philip Valerio Sibanda

Former Zanu PF commissar and August 23 independent presidential candidate Saviour Kasukuwere has vowed to fight President Emmerson Mnangagwa ‘to the end’ saying he was ready to sacrifice his life.

Kasukuwere told The Standard in an exclusive interview on Friday that he was alive to the threats to his life, and said his stay outside the country was to enable him “to overcome some shenanigans”.

G40 kingpin Cde Saviour Kasukuwere

He said Mnangagwa was sensing defeat and had resorted to changing the rules in the middle of the contest.

“At this point I am not fearing for my life anymore,” he said.

“I fear for the people of Zimbabwe and I fear for the future if we don’t stand up to fight.

“Those threats to my life will not deter me from standing up and our supporters are being harassed.

“We have been telling the people to choose their candidates according to their will because Zanu PF has no capacity to tell who has voted where, it’s a secret ballot.

“The message is clear that across all Zimbabwe; that come 23 August, people shall decide.

“They are threatening the people, forcing them to attend their rallies, but I can assure you that people have passed the intimidation stage and now know what they want.”

High Court judge Justice David Mangota recently nullified Kasukuwere’s candidacy following an application by a Zanu PF proxy, Lovedale Mangwana. Mangwana argued that the Electoral Act did not allow a candidate who had been out of the country for over 18 months to contest for the presidency. Kasukuwere has appealed against the judgment at the Supreme Court. Government has also moved to ban campaign billboards mounted by Kasukuwere’s campaign team, and has ordered advertising companies to seek approval first.

Kasukuwere’s campaign team last week mounted a huge billboard along Robert Mugabe Road, Simon Mazorodze Road in Harare and another in Mutare at the bus terminus.

On Friday, Harare Metropolitan secretary for provincial affairs and devolution, Tafadzwa Muguti, described the unsanctioned erection of billboards as corruption and said those who approved them were under investigation. Kasukuwere said the plot to ban the billboards was a sign that Mnangagwa had “lost the game”.

“We are engaging the region, the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) over the unfair laws and policies that Mnangagwa is introducing,” Kasukuwere said.

“We are not deterred by these shenanigans and silly attempts by the authorities to change the law during the game.

“When someone changes the rules during the match, it’s an admission that they have lost the game.

“The engineer’s job is to fix the roads, not to read billboard messages.

“As to the messages that are placed on billboards, it’s the job of the censorship board.”

Kasukuwere said he had no hostility towards other presidential aspirants such as Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader, Nelson Chamisa besides Mnangagwa.

“I am not hostile to anybody,” he said. “The one who is in power and is messing up our country is Emmerson.

“I can’t be attacking or directing issues to someone who is not in power. It will be a misdirection of energy.

“Our interest is to change the country into a better nation.

“The one whom we must hold accountable for mess, chaos, pain, hunger, inflation, corruption, violence, is Mnangagwa.”

Kasukuwere, a former Cabinet minister, is one of the 12 presidential candidates that are contesting in the second polls after the military coup that toppled the late Robert Mugabe in 2017.

He went into exile in neighbouring South Africa after he was targeted by the military together with other pro-Mugabe Zanu PF officials and ministers.

Zanu PF and the police have said Kasukuwere has pending criminal cases, and faces arrest upon his return.

The former Local Government minister briefly came back to Zimbabwe and appeared in court over criminal charges and was acquitted.

Among other crimes, he was accused of parcelling out land to former First Lady Grace Mugabe’s sister.

Mnangagwa is seeking his second and final term in office.

— The Standard

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