HARARE – The ruling party in Zimbabwe, Zanu-PF, has gained an early advantage ahead of the general elections on 23 August.
The opposition party, MDC Alliance, led by Douglas Mwonzora, failed to field candidates in all constituencies due to their inability to pay the candidate nomination fees. As a result, Zanu-PF is uncontested in 53 local council authorities where the opposition did not field candidates.
The MDC Alliance filed a case at the Constitutional Court, claiming that the nomination papers were not in order due to the failure to pay the nomination fees. However, the court ruled against them, further strengthening Zanu-PF’s position. Nomination fees for parliamentary candidates were set at US$1000, while the presidential fee was US$20,000.
Zanu-PF criticized the opposition, stating that those who failed to pay the nomination fees had no business running a country. Meanwhile, the CCC (Citizens Coalition for Change) candidates managed to raise their nomination fees. Zanu-PF’s finance secretary stated that the party would seek to disqualify 15 CCC candidates in Bulawayo, alleging that they did not submit their nomination papers and fees within the specified timeframe.
The CCC’s lawyer argued that Zanu-PF’s strategy to discredit the CCC candidates had failed in Harare’s Nomination Court, and he intended to use the same argument to allow the CCC candidates in Bulawayo to file their papers. The dispute seems to be playing out in the courts, with Zanu-PF attempting to disqualify opposition candidates through legal means.
In addition to these challenges, former Zanu-PF candidate Savior Kasukuwere, who is now a presidential aspirant, has faced legal challenges from Zanu-PF activist Lovedale Mangwana. The argument against Kasukuwere is that he had been out of the country for more than 18 months.
The High Court has deferred the case to 12 July. Kasukuwere also has two outstanding warrants of arrest against him, one for absconding from court in 2019 and another for failing to surrender his passport after traveling abroad. His team argues that these warrants are part of a scheme to prevent him from returning to the country to participate in the presidential election.
Overall, the situation seems to be favoring Zanu-PF as the opposition faces challenges related to nomination fees and legal disputes. However, the political landscape can be fluid, and it is essential to keep track of any updates or developments leading up to the general elections in Zimbabwe.