Court blocks Mugabe ally from Zimbabwe polls

Thursday July 13 2023

Zimbabwe former minister, Saviour Kasukuwere. PHOTO | AFP


A Zimbabwean court has disqualified a former minister from challenging President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the August 23 election because he lives in exile.

High Court Judge David Mangota ruled on Wednesday that Saviour Kasukuwere, who has been living in South Africa since the 2017 coup that toppled former ruler Robert Mugabe, was ineligible to contest the polls.

The order followed an application by a ruling Zanu PF party activist who challenged the former local government minister's nomination as a presidential candidate.

Read: Clamour for reforms puts Zimbabwe polls in doubt

"The decision of the Nominations Court was in breach of the Constitution in accepting (Mr) Kasukuwere's nomination papers," Justice Mangota ruled.

"The first respondent did not reside in any constituency in the Republic of Zimbabwe."


Mr Kasukuwere, who was the late Mr Mugabe's last political commissar, has been rallying the former ruler's loyalists to oust President Mnangagwa from power.

Read: Mugabe's loyalists regroup against Mnangagwa

His camp immediately said it would appeal the ruling.

The 53-year-old former minister's announcement that he would contest the presidency as an independent candidate had caused panic in President Mnangagwa's camp amid threats that he would be arrested for alleged corruption.

But Kasukuwere insists he has nothing to answer for, having been cleared of all charges by the courts.

Zimbabwe's efforts to have the former minister placed on Interpol's wanted list failed after the international anti-crime body classified his case as political.

If the Supreme Court ruling is not overturned, President Mnangagwa will face nine other candidates, including main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.

Read: Chamisa to face Mnangagwa at polls

The 80-year-old strongman narrowly beat Mr Chamisa in the disputed 2018 election.

President Mnangagwa is serving his second and final full term in office.