Saviour Kasukuwere will not be on the ballot in next month’s election after the Supreme Court today dismissed his appeal against a high court ruling barring his candidacy, but his lawyers say he is not giving up.
The former ZANU PF commissar went to the Supreme Court after High Court judge David Mangota dropped him from the race. ZANU PF activist, Lovedale Mangwana, had applied to have Kasukuwere barred on the basis that he had been outside the country for a straight 18 months, which the judge agreed disqualifies him from standing under electoral laws.
At Supreme Court this week, Kasukuwere’s lawyer, Welshman Ncube, argued that Mangwana had no legal right to bring that case to court. Supreme Court judges disagreed.
“We carefully considered the evidence and oral submissions by both counsels. Court is of the view the appeal lacks merit. The appeal be and is hereby dismissed,” they ruled, saying they would give reasons for their decision later.
Method Ndlovu, another of Kasukuwere’s lawyers, said his client is not giving up on standing.
“Our country is on the eve of a constitutional and electoral crisis. We have received instructions from our client to take the next available step to make sure that he remains on the ballot,” Ndlovu told reporters. “This decision is going to be challenged in no time.”
Lawyer Lewis Uriri, for Mangwana, said Kasukuwere had failed to show his passport or an affidavit to confirm that he had not been absent during the period.
Today’s ruling puts a lid on Kasukuwere’s ambitions. He had hoped to draw support from disgruntled ZANU PF supporters, ride on the legacy of late President Robert Mugabe, and eat into President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s base.
The election run-up has been weighed down by a string of court cases, which the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission fears may delay the printing of ballots. On Thursday, a judge barred 12 opposition candidates from standing in Bulawayo, saying they had filed their papers late. An appeal by the CCC against “double candidates” that the party says forged nomination papers was also dismissed.
Politician Linda Masarira also lost her appeal this week against ZEC’s decision to exclude her from the list of presidential candidates.