The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front primary elections which will determine the candidates to contest this year’s elections have been moved forward from 5 May to 29 April.
According to the Sunday Mail more than 1 302 candidates will be battling it out for Parliament while more than 6 000 will seek council seats.
Some old hands are, however, unopposed. These include Sithembiso Nyoni, Joseph Chinotimba, Kenneth Musanhi, Edmore Mhere and William Mutomba.
Newly appointed Mines Minister Winston Chitando also made it unopposed.
Campaigning starts today but no one will be allowed to campaign as an individual.
National political commissar Engelbert Rugeje said candidates are going to use actual polling centres.
“It is going to be a dry run for the harmonised elections. We are going to use the actual polling centres, we might not have the polling booth, but we will try and rehearse ourselves just as if we were actually going to vote for the national elections,” he said.
“We currently have a verification exercise that is underway because we want to prevent cheating. There has been a lot of cheating in the past because sitting MPs, sitting senators, sitting councilors had a tendency of creating their own structures which they will then present during the voting process.
“It’s not going to be the case this time. I am going to establish the register myself as Commissar and I have got a team of 600 people who are out there who are going cell by cell, registering people and making sure that the cell registers are up to date and accurate.”
“We have directed that there is nobody who is going to campaign on their own. There shall be a programme that will be laid for all the participating candidates.
“So if you are in, for example, Bikita East you cannot address the rally on your own. There will be a co-ordinator in the constituency who will arrange a system of governance where all the aspiring candidates will come together and be allocated time to talk about themselves, to campaign.
“We are deliberately doing so in order to avoid the potential to create disunity amongst our own members. There is a tendency when people are campaigning to fight each other.
“Some are not good at mobilising so they will resort to dirty tactics. We want to avoid that as a party that’s why we insist on campaigning together for all the prospective candidates. You get disqualified if you do not co-ordinate.”