High nomination fees commercialises electoral process

Opposition politicians have slammed increased parliamentary and presidential candidate nomination fees as commercialisation of the electoral process. This comes at a time most opposition political parties are finalising their list of candidates to participate in the harmonised election due to be held between July 27 and August 26 this year. Through Statutory Instrument (SI) 144) of 2022 Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) gazetted hiked nomination fees which will see aspiring presidential candidates paying US$20 000, a 1 900 percent rise from US$1 000,while aspiring parliamentarians will pay US$ 1000 from US$50. Proportional Representation (PR) candidates for parliament and provincial councils will pay US$100.

Political parties will have to folk out US$210 000 to field candidates in all constituencies, something that irks the opposition most of whom are struggling financially. In a recent media briefing Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) deputy national spokesperson, Ostallos Siziba said high nomination fees commercialises leadership.

“It is without doubt that we think the nomination fee is exorbitant, we think that it must be revised so that leadership does not become commercialised, does not become a platform for those with riches but it must be a platform for those with the ability to lead, for those with connections with ordinary people, that is the essence of elections and that is the essence of democracy,” said Siziba.

Lead president Linda Musarira nomination fees for legislators and PR candidates are discriminatory towards women. “Running for public office should be open to everyone in line with section 56 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which speaks to none discrimination and gender equality”, said Musarira.

“Considering the fact that most women are not financially sound but might have leadership qualities, the nomination fees are quite discriminatory and should be challenges in the court of law. “They should be reviewed to a reasonable figure or to be reverted back to the US$50 so that everyone who feels compelled to lead in their constituencies is given an opportunity to do so”. Musarira said the high nomination fee is exclusionary and goes against President Mnangagwa’s mantra of leaving no one behind.