Exorbitant nomination fees ploy by Zanu to stop opposition from contesting: Mwonzora

Zanu PF does not want opposition political parties to participate in the August 23 elections, which is why the government approved the exorbitant nomination costs that candidates must pay to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora has claimed.

Mwonzora claimed Zanu PF was paying for all its candidates while other political parties that intended to field candidates in all 210 constituencies in the country were struggling to raise the nomination costs.

The MDC leader said some candidates in his party, notably those in Parliament, would have to pay their own nomination fees.

Last year on August 19, 2022, ZEC and the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs gazetted the hike of nomination costs, access to voters roll, and electoral maps fees for election candidates through a basket of legislative instruments, SI 144 and 145 of 2022.

Aspiring presidential candidates must pay US$20 000, a 1 900 percent rise from US$1 000 charged in 2018, while Members of Parliament will pay US$1 000, a 1 900 percent increase from US$50. 

Proportional Representation (PR) lists for Parliament and Provincial councils must pay US$100 while the Justice Minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi, already decreed that there were to be no reversals on these nomination fees.

Mwonzora said the nomination fees were prohibitive and deliberately set so Zanu PF could stop people from contesting.

“That is a lot of money under these circumstances but the motivation is to stop people from contesting that is Zanu PF for you because Zanu PF is paying for all its candidates,” he said in an interview with CITE.

He noted not every political party was well-resourced like the ruling Zanu PF.

“Raising the candidate fees is very, very difficult. In fact, the candidate fees are very prohibitive because it means for a party like MDC which wants to field the 210 MPs it requires something like $360 000, which is almost half a million,” said the MDC leader.

“That is US$210 000 for the 210 candidates, then add the US$100 for all proportional lists. We are trying to fundraise for that.”

Mwonzora stated the MDC will play its role in paying for its candidates, but would be unable to cover all fees, which implies that some candidates may have to fund themselves.

“The party will assess its financial position to see whether it can afford to pay for all the candidates or that some candidates, especially those in Parliament already, can pay for themselves,” said the MDC leader and added he too was looking for wellwishers to raise the US$20 000 for presidential candidates.

“Someone wrote (mockingly) that Mwonzora is not going to be able to pay for himself but US$20 000 is a lot of money.”

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