Barring Kasukuwere From Election: Court Reserves Judgment
High Court Judge Justice David Mangota reserved judgment on Friday on a case filed by a private citizen seeking to bar former cabinet Minister Saviour Kasukuwere from contesting in the August 23 elections on legal grounds.
Kasukuwere’s election agent, Jacqueline Sande, confirmed the court’s position in a tweet and expressed confidence that the application would be dismissed.
ZANU PF activist and lawyer Lovedale Mangwana filed an application seeking to prevent Kasukuwere from running on the grounds that he is no longer a registered voter in his constituency. Mangwana argues that Kasukuwere has been living outside Zimbabwe for more than 18 months, making him ineligible to run. He said:
The 1st respondent (Kasukuwere) has not been resident in any constituency in the Republic of Zimbabwe for a period in excess of 18 consecutive months and his name cannot, by that circumstance, be retained on the voter’s roll.
Mangwana contends that the nomination court erred in accepting Kasukuwere’s papers to contest in the elections as an independent Presidential candidate because his 18-month-long absence from the country and constituency meant that he had ceased to be a registered voter. He claims that the nomination court’s decision to register Kasukuwere as a candidate was in violation of the Constitution.
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Saviour Kasukuwere, who has been in self-imposed exile in South Africa since 2017, registered to run as an independent presidential candidate in Zimbabwe’s upcoming election. However, Sande dismissed Mangwana’s case as “shallow and frivolous,” stating that Kasukuwere’s legal team, represented by Harrison Nkomo, contends that Mangwana approached the wrong forum without sufficient evidence to sustain his case.
Some observers have called for the abolition of the Electoral Act clause disqualifying individuals who have been out of their constituencies for a specific period from participating in an election, as this may affect many Zimbabweans living abroad who return home to vote during elections.