HARARE – The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has imposed hefty nomination fees to be paid by those seeking to contest the 2023 polls, with presidential candidates called to part with US$20 000 each to have their names printed on the next election’s ballot paper.
The shock fees are according to Statutory Instrument 144/2022 gazetted by the government Friday.
Presidential candidates have to pay US$20 000, up from US$1 000 paid in 2018, to qualify to stand in 2023 while those seeking to contest for parliamentary seats will each part with US$1 000, up from US$50 paid before.
To pass the nomination process, US$100 has been pegged for those seeking to take part in next senatorial and council elections.
“The Electoral (Nomination of Candidates) Regulations, 2014, published in Statutory Instrument of 2014, is amended in section 3 in;
“(a) subsection (1)(a) by the deletion of ‘a sum of one thousand United States dollars payable in cash or by bank certified cheque’ and the substitution of ‘a sum of twenty thousand United States dollars payable in cash or payable in Zimbabwean local currency at the official market rate’” read the SI in respect of nomination for presidential candidates.
The prerequisite nomination process is the qualification threshold for prospective candidates in the country’s multi-tier elections run under ZEC.
With a Zimbabwe parliament operating on 210 contestable seats, this means a single party seeking to field candidates in all constituencies will part with US$210 000 just for that process alone.
The fixing of astronomical nomination fees means there is a higher likelihood there would be less candidates on the presidential election ballot paper than before.
The 2018 election was contested by 23 presidential candidates.
The new fees to be paid are over and above the huge bill prospective candidates often have to manage while campaigning for election.
There are concerns that parties that do not receive any funding under government’s Political Parties Finance Act could find it tough to sponsor candidates for the election.
NCA president and one of the losing candidates in the 2018 presidential elections Lovemore Madhuku said the charges were too high and urged authorities to reduce them.
“Excessive, undemocratic and unconstitutional. ZEC fails to appreciate that a “free and fair” election starts from that being a candidate must not be unaffordable to an ordinary politician. The amounts MUST be substantially reduced. US$500K for a party to field ALL candidates?” Madhuku said via his social media handles. – ZimLive