Aspiring candidates across the political divide have started submitting nomination papers to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), amid reports of serious bickering in MDC Alliance as MDC-T supporters refuse to recognise nominees fielded on behalf of the alliance.
Candidates are lodging their papers with ZEC in a pre-nomination exercise to avoid a last-minute rush tomorrow when nomination courts sit in various provincial capitals to approve contestants for the July 30 harmonised elections.
The Nomination Court, which qualifies or disqualifies candidates to contest in an election, sits at a time when MDC-T factions are fighting court battles over party ownership, name, symbols and logos.
Campaign material being used by Mr Nelson Chamisa and Dr Thokozoni Khupe’s factions bear the same symbols and logos, leaving their supporters confused.
With only a day to go before the Nomination Court sits, information gathered by The Herald showed that MDC-T members and their prospective candidates are reluctant to create space for aspirants from alliance partners.
Mr Chamisa leads the alliance, which is a coalition of seven fringe political parties.
The parties are People’s Democratic Party led by Mr Tendai Biti; MDC (Professor Welshman Ncube); Transform Zimbabwe (Mr Jacob Ngarivhume); Zanu-Ndonga (Mr Denford Musiyarira); Multi-Racial Christian Democratic Party (Mr Mathias Guchutu) and Zimbabwe People First (Mr Agrippa Mutambara).
Zanu-PF yesterday said it had finalised its list of candidates at all levels.
“We have started our nomination process and people are filing their papers with ZEC across the country,” the revolutionary party’s secretary for Legal Affairs Cde Paul Mangwana said.
“So far, I have not heard of any challenges and by the end of the day we will be making an evaluation to see how many have successfully filed their nomination papers. We have done this days before the Nomination Court sits to deal with any operational challenges on time.”
Zanu-PF will field President Mnangagwa as its Presidential candidate.
MDC Alliance spokesperson Prof Ncube said they were still to finalise their list of candidates.
“We are working on the nomination forms as we speak in the hope that we will be able to advance-file them to ZEC before the end of day, at least the ones for parliamentary elections,” he said.
“As for the Local Government elections, the candidates for Parliament are working with Local Government candidates to make sure all their papers are in order for submission at the relevant local government nomination courts on Thursday.
“All the candidates are there. It is just a question of working on the papers.”
Bickering in the alliance is rife in various provinces including Harare, Matabeleland South, Masvingo and Manicaland
MDC-T supporters are resisting imposition of candidates from alliance partners and demonstrations and petitions are the order of the day in places such as Chimanimani, where party supporters are rejecting former Energy and Power Development deputy Minister Munacho Mutezo as their MDC Alliance parliamentary candidate.
Mr Mutezo is from ZimPF, and MDC-T members prefer local businessman Mr Canaan Matiashe.
In Matabeleland South, power hungry MDC-T officials left out in the parliamentary race are now working on derailing the coalition.
They want seats allocated to Prof Ncube’s MDC.
In Masvingo, nomadic politician Mr Kudakwashe Bhasikiti is facing resistance from the MDC-T in Mwenezi East where he was fielded as a candidate for the alliance.
MDC-T provincial chairperson for Masvingo, Mr James Gumbi, has reportedly resigned because of the infighting.
Insiders said Mr Gumbi is against the imposition of Mr Bhasikiti whom he said worked against the MDC-T since its formation in 1999.
In Harare, supporters in Glen View South have petitioned Mr Chamisa over the imposition of Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s daughter Vimbai, as the constituency’s representative.
In Harare Central, MDC-T supporters are clamouring for primary elections, as opposed to the imposition of Mr Murisi Zvizwai, with the situation not clear on who will represent the party in Kuwadzana East between Mr Chalton Hwende and youth activist Mr Shakespeare Mukoyi.
Mr Chamisa is the legislator for Kuwadzana East, but supporters have been pissed off by his attempts to impose his friend Mr Hwende to succeed him.
The MDC-T led by Dr Khupe said they were working on their list of representatives.
“We are fielding candidates at all levels from Zambezi to Limpopo,” said Dr Khupe’s deputy, Mr Obert Gutu. “It has been hectic, but we are on it.”
Dr Joice Mujuru-led National People’s Party (NPP) could not be reached for comment, as her assistants said she was busy.
Zimbabwe Development Party (ZDP) and the Voice of the People (VOP) said they were no longer contesting the elections.
They said the elections would not be free and fair because of “numerous electoral practices.”
“The outcome of these elections won’t be a reflection of the true will of the people of Zimbabwe, but of the manipulated, hoodwinked, suppressed and helpless electorate,” reads a joint statement by the party’s leader Mr Kisinoti Mukwazhe (ZDP) and Mr Moreprecision Muzadzi (VOP).
“Observer missions like Sadc and Comesa have already indicated that elections will be free, fair and credible without mentioning grievances and ignoring concerns raised by most political stakeholders.”
Mr Mukwazhe and Mr Muzadzi recently approached the constitutional court seeking to be considered for funding under the Political Parties (Finance) Act, despite that they did not qualify.
Chief Justice Luke Malaba dismissed the application, saying a political party was not an income generating project, hence upstart political outfits should not burden the courts with claims of a share from the election campaign fund awarded in terms of the Act.
According to ZEC’s election roadmap, the electoral body has appointed constituency election officers and was yesterday busy holding nomination court training and set up.