Zanu PF youths in Mashonaland East are up in arms with the party’s Mudzi South legislator and top lawyer, Jonathan Samkange, for representing former Local Government minister and G40 kingpin Saviour Kasukuwere in a criminal abuse of office case.
BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
Provincial youth spokesperson Micklam Mhingidzi yesterday said the party viewed Kasukuwere as an enemy of President Emmerson Mnangagwa because of his G40 faction links when he was the ruling party’s national political commissar under former President Robert Mugabe.
“We are saying, if the President wants all corrupt people to face the full wrath of the law, as the youth league, we are surprised as to why Samkange, who is a member of the Zanu PF, is defending them,” he said.
Kasukuwere was on Tuesday granted $3 000 bail by Harare regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya on accusations that he fraudulently parcelled out vast tracts of land to former First Lady Grace Mugabe’s sister, Shuvai Gumbochuma, among others.
Asked to comment on other Zanu PF officials who engage lawyers who are often opposition party officials, Mhingidzi said Samkange’s case was different, as he was a ruling party MP, therefore, should not defend those accused of graft, as this could be seen as defying the party leader’s vision.
“What we are saying is that these other lawyers are not indebted to Zanu PF. But the honourable (Samkange) is Zanu PF,” Mhingidzi said.
The youth league said their views were not based on factional lines.
But Samkange said those criticising his decision to represent Kasukuwere were ignorant.
“That statement is issued by people who are ignorant of the role of a lawyer. A lawyer is just like a doctor, we even represent murderers,” he said.
“The Constitution clearly states that a person is innocent until proven guilty. In fact, what I am doing is in line with ED (Mnangagwa’s vision of promoting the) rule of law and democracy. People should be free to engage whoever they want to represent. Isn’t it what the rule of law reflects? Even ED will not support such a view.”
Samkange suspected the criticism was the work of his adversaries, possibly those whom he defeated in the primary elections.
“How many people that were initially appointed by Mugabe are in the Cabinet? I don’t judge people,” he said.
“If a person comes to me, whether it’s Kasukuwere or whoever, I represent them all. I cannot be told who to represent. These are the very same people who call me asking for monetary assistance for party activities. Where do I get that money from?”