Zimbabwe presidential candidate Saviour Kasukuwere loses appeal

29 July 2023 - 10:28
Saviour Kasukuwere.
Image: Sunday Times Saviour Kasukuwere.

Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court has thrown out independent candidate and former cabinet minister Saviour Kasukuwere’s appeal challenging the high court’s decision to bar him from contesting the presidential elections on August 23.

The high court had barred Kasukuwere from running for president after a Zanu-PF activist, Lovedale Mangwana, challenged his nomination and sought his disqualification because he has been living outside Zimbabwe for more than 18 months.

Kasukuwere appealed against the high court’s decision in the Supreme Court.

Delivering judgment on Friday, Supreme Court judges Antonia Guvava, Chinembiri Bhunu and Felistus Chatukuta ruled that Kasukuwere’s appeal lacked merit.

“We carefully considered the evidence and oral submissions by both counsels. The court is of the view the appeal lacks merit. The appeal be and is hereby dismissed with no order as to costs,” read the court ruling.

The court said the full reasons for the judgment would be made available in due course.

Speaking after the ruling, Zimbabwean lawyer and opposition politician David Coltart said the country's courts were being used to deny fundamental rights.

“The dismissal of Kasukuwere’s appeal is not surprising despite the fact that the judgment was seriously flawed. The use of the courts to deny fundamental rights to vote and stand is deeply concerning. These elections are a sham and no longer credible,” said Coltart.

Kasukuwere, 52, said on his social media page he was “disappointed” with the ruling. “Disappointed, and we are now considering our next steps and will keep the nation informed.”

The former cabinet minister has been in self-imposed exile in South Africa since 2017, when former president Robert Mugabe was toppled in a military coup. Kasukuwere briefly returned to Zimbabwe in 2018 and was arrested on corruption charges. These were later dismissed by the Harare magistrate’s court, but not before he left the country again.

Eleven candidates have filed nomination papers, approved by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), to contest the elections. The race is expected to be between incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zanu-PF and opposition leader Nelson Chamisa of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).


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