In a dramatic turn of events, the former Zanu PF youth leader, Jim Kunaka, has launched a fierce legal battle by approaching the Constitutional Court to challenge a recent High Court ruling that barred exiled former minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, from running in the upcoming presidential election on August 23.
Kasukuwere, whose candidature was initially accepted by the nomination court on June 21, faced a sudden reversal when High Court judge, Justice David Mangota, stripped him of his eligibility. This decision came after Zanu PF activist, Lovedale Mangwana, lodged a challenge against Kasukuwere’s candidacy, arguing that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) had violated the Electoral Act by accepting his nomination papers despite his absence from the country for over 18 months.
Unwilling to accept defeat, the former Zanu PF commissar, Kasukuwere, took the matter to the Supreme Court, hoping for a favourable outcome. However, the Supreme Court disappointed him by upholding Justice Mangota’s ruling, leaving him with limited options.
Kasukuwere, affectionately known as “Tyson,” expressed his determination to continue the fight and challenge the latest ruling. Meanwhile, Kunaka, in his application seeking access to the ConCourt, argued that Justice Mangota’s decision infringed upon the constitutional rights of voters to freely choose their preferred presidential candidate.
In his submission, Kunaka stated, “I nominated Saviour Kasukuwere as a presidential candidate. He was my candidate of choice. It is my respectful contention that the decision of the court in question infringes on my right to choose a candidate of my choice to participate freely in politics as protected by sections 58 and 67 of the constitution of Zimbabwe.”
Kunaka emphasized that not only his rights but also the rights of thousands of Zimbabweans who intended to vote for Kasukuwere had been infringed upon. He further argued that excluding Kasukuwere from the electoral process would undermine the credibility of the upcoming elections.
Highlighting the urgency and significance of the case, legal experts weighed in on the matter. Lawyer Dumisani Dube explained, “The application by Kunaka doesn’t stop the decision of the Supreme Court. However, due to the importance of the matter in the constitutional jurisprudence of the country, the court may set the matter down urgently before the election date.”
Another lawyer, Nqobani Sithole, emphasized the distinction between the roles of the High Court and the Constitutional Court, stating that the former deals with the interpretation of the law while the latter focuses on constitutionality.
As Kunaka’s ConCourt application takes center stage, the nation eagerly awaits the court’s decision. Will Kasukuwere be granted the opportunity to participate in the forthcoming election? Or will the High Court ruling be upheld, solidifying his exclusion from the race? One thing is certain: this legal battle has intensified, and the fate of Kasukuwere’s presidential aspirations hangs in the balance.