Saviour Kasukuwere, a former Zimbabwean government minister who sought to challenge President Emmerson Mnangagwa in upcoming elections, told the BBC’s Focus on Africa podcast that he is “surprised” by a court’s decision to prevent him from competing for office.
A Harare high court judge invalidated Mr. Kasukuwere’s application to run as an independent candidate based on allegations that he has spent more than 18 months outside of Zimbabwe.
“Is it a requirement that, if you want to be president, you can’t leave a country for 18 months? You just have to remain in that country,” the question reads. Mr. Kasukuwere inquired, arguing that this was not required by law.
In addition, he denied being out of the country for the past 18 months, claiming that he has been “traveling the region.”
He also lamented the security situation in Zimbabwe, stating that “everyone knows” that this was a contributing factor in his decision to leave the country.
Mr. Kasukuwere, an erstwhile ally of former President Robert Mugabe, fled the country following the 2017 military coup that brought President Mnangagwa to power.
In 2018, he momentarily returned to Zimbabwe before fleeing again to South Africa, citing political persecution.
Mr. Kasukuwere has filed a challenge to the ruling with the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe, and he is optimistic that he will prevail.