The nomination court for the March 26 by-elections started earnestly Wednesday in Bulawayo with aspiring candidates saying the process was smooth.
Nomination of candidates is a process that requires prospective electoral candidates to go through the nomination court which qualifies or disqualifies one to contest in any election.
Prospective parliamentary candidates for Matabeleland North constituencies were held at Tredgold Magistrates Court while local authority candidates for Bulawayo were submitting their applications at the Council Chambers at the City Hall.
From indications, the vacant local authority seats in Bulawayo were attracting the recalled councillors who claimed they wanted to complete their terms.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) nullified by-elections in six constituencies including Nkulumane and Pumula after the lawmakers who had been recalled from parliament successfully petitioned the High Court to reverse their recall.
The same applies to Ward 3 council seat in Bulawayo where former Deputy Mayor Tinashe Kambarami is still contesting his expulsion.
In an interview with CITE, candidates expressed optimism of emerging successful after the Nomination Court finalises applications by 4 pm.
Fortune Kosho a Chief Election Officer from the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) confirmed the nomination process was smooth.
Former Ward 26 Emganwini councillor, Norman Hlabano, said his chances of retaining his seat were high as he continued working with people despite his recall.
“I don’t want to retain my seat. I want to complete my term of office. I have always been working with my people despite the fact that there are so many hunters,” he said.
Former Ward 9 Mpopoma councillor Donaldson Mabutho noted he received a unanimous endorsement to contest again.
“I represent the CCC and as you are aware, we were illegally recalled while residents still needed us in office. We went back to consult with stakeholders in the ward if they still want the councillor back or they need another councillor. We had a unanimous endorsement for my return from residents of Mpopoma Ward 9,” he said.
The race for parliamentary seats also proved to be exciting with two candidates expressing their wish to develop Binga.
An independent, 24-year-old Disciple Munkuli, said the Tonga people had been silent for so long in politics.
“I was motivated to enter the race by the situation in Binga district. Tonga people do participate in politics but not so much. I came to represent the voices of Tonga people because according to the law we are equal and we need to benefit as such,” said the youth.
“ I want to develop and transform Binga so that it looks better than what it looks like now because this is one of the underdeveloped districts in Zimbabwe. There is a need be at par or levels with civilisation.”
A prospective Zanu PF candidate, Kudakwashe Mavula Munsaka (36), for Binga North said his vision was to industrialise Binga.
“We want development as people of Binga, we have realised that MDC has failed the people. The legislator who was recalled (Prince Dubeko Sibanda) did not do anything as far as development is concerned. He has nothing to show for his two terms in office,”
“Our vision is to industrialise Binga. We have a parallel industrialisation programme that is aimed at industrialising Binga towards the president’s 2030 vision. We have a robust development strategy that we have already started implementing. The vision is to make Binga a city and that’s possible.”
Elifia Moyo, a Zanu PF District Coordinating Committee member for Women’s Affairs, who came to offer support to their candidate Musa Ncube Mathema for Tsholotsho South, said it was time for women to lead.
“We are waiting to choose a leader we want and will help us in Tsholotsho. Musa Ncube is from Mhlabangubo line in Tsholotsho and she will represent the constituency well,” she said.
Moyo said the distance they travelled to file their papers in Bulawayo was “nothing new”, as they have become used to travelling all the time when they want to sort out their documentation.
Aspiring Tsholotsho South candidate, ZAPU’s Leornard Mthombeni, 68, said he would rely on his experience to win the seat.
“This is not my first time contesting, I was a councillor for three terms, from 1998 to 2008. I have worked hard in Ward 15 for eight years. I chaired a projects committee before I became the council chair. During the struggle, I was a camp commander and people used to call me Moral while my pseudo name was Zabu Ndlovu,” he said.
“I am a servant and power belongs to the people because ZAPU believes in decentralising power.”
Meanwhile, Kucaca Phulu, the Nkulumane MP, welcomed the cancellation of the by-election in his constituency, saying he “never ceased to become an MP.”
“The by-election in Pumula and Nkulumane were cancelled in line with numerous court orders that declared that the seats are not vacant and our expulsion from Parliament was irregular so it’s a welcome development but yes the complaint is it took too long for that judgment to be followed and effected,” he said.