Political parties in Zimbabwe have been urged to put in place effective processes to deal with internal conflicts in order to prevent the running of double candidates in elections.
This was said by political analyst, Effie Ncube while speaking to members of the media and political party representatives at a meeting hosted by MISA-Zimbabwe in Bulawayo recently.
According to Ncube, political parties lack robust internal mechanisms that govern competition, allowing for the formation of dual candidates.
“One of the challenges is that our political parties do not have internal institutions to regulate competition. In some countries, political parties will have their own independent election commissions that are respected by everyone. There would be standards that are set and rules that are known to every person,” Ncube said.
“There should be rules speaking to what a free and fair election means within the political party. It then becomes difficult to have free and fair elections in a country where primary elections are not free and fair. If political parties cannot hold free and fair elections internally, there is no way they can hold them at national level. The absence of institutions to help a democratic competition at primary level is the reason why we have multiple candidates.”
Another factor contributing to double candidates, according to Ncube, is political parties’ failure to hold primary elections on time.
The political analyst also stated that parties must organise their primary elections in advance so that if problems arise as a result of competition, they have enough time to resolve the concerns.
“Some political parties leave it until it is too late to come up with candidates. They then do not have time to resolve disputes should they arise. There is always going to be internal litigation within political parties. It is important for political parties to hold the selection processes at an early stage,” Ncube said.
“If the parties hold their primary elections at least six months before the Nomination Court, they can then have enough time to resolve any form of disputes that may arise. For instance, another political party, it was not known who was going to be a candidate until the nomination day. There have been serious allegations from almost all political parties that elections are rigged and the process is undemocratic. Political parties hence need to strengthen such processes so that there are less squabbles.”
Zanu PF Bulawayo Provincial Spokesperson, Archibald Chiponda, claimed the ruling party has robust mechanisms in place hence the party has never had challenges of double candidacy.
“We have a constitution that clearly governs our election processes. That is why you find that our party does not have double candidates. What is important is to have robust mechanisms within the party to enforce your rules and internal institutions. They can be there on paper but if they are not enforced then the regulations would not be adhered to,” Chiponda said.
“Our party has robust mechanisms to deal with such issues. This is why you find that even the nation pays serious attention to our primary elections. The conflict resolution mechanisms are so guided during our internal electoral processes. This is why you come across such headlines as some bigwigs have been knocked out, no matter how big you are in Zanu PF you just have to adhere to the rules and regulations.”