New regulations for Presidential aspirants

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi

ASPIRANTS who wish to land the country’s top job — the Presidency — will have to be nominated by at least 1 000 registered voters from the country’s 10 provinces and fork out more than the current $1 000 nomination fee, as Government moves to align local nomination processes with regional and international best practices, it has been learnt.

The overhaul is also expected to winnow out “chancers”. Last year, 23 candidates successfully registered as candidates for the Presidential election, the largest number since the first democratic elections since 1980, when Government began opening up the democratic space.

However, the large pool of candidates created a logistical nightmare for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) in designing the ballot paper. Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi told our Harare Bureau that the new regulations will ensure that only serious candidates participate.

“We are looking also at provisions that deal with nomination fees for Presidential candidates and also those people that nominate the President with a view of increasing them from 100 to maybe 1 000,” said Minister Ziyambi. 

“We want to revise the fees to make sure that they are reasonable. As you saw, (in) the last election we had the largest pool of candidates in the history of the country. While we want to encourage participation, we also want to make sure that only serious candidates find their names on the ballot.”

Current regulations require candidates seeking to contest Presidential, Parliamentary and local council polls to submit their candidacy to one of several specially convened nomination courts across the country.

To register successfully, Presidential candidates pay a $1 000 fee and must be nominated by at least 100 registered voters from across the country’s 10 provinces. Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) chairperson Mr Andrew Makoni said the changes will eliminate chancers from participating.

“Increasing the number of signatures required to register as a candidate is to avoid a situation where we have people trying their luck at a cost to the elections management body. Organising an election is a very expensive exercise, so if we have a situation where someone just gathers a 100 signatures and a small amount of money, but have no following at all, this comes at a very huge cost to the elections management body. So I think the idea is to ensure that only serious candidates with constituencies behind them are able to participate and do away with chancers.”

President Emmerson Mnangagwa won last year’s elections. He managed to outpoll 22 candidates that included Nelson Chamisa (MDC-Alliance), Thokozani Khupe (MDC-T), Nkosana Moyo (Alliance for People’s Agenda), Joice Mujuru (People’s Rainbow Coalition), Elton Mangoma (Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe), and Ambrose Mutinhiri (National Patriotic Front), among others.