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Commotion in Zimbabwe Parliament as Legal Committee okays exorbitant nomination fees for 2023 elections

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VOA


There was commotion in the National House of Assembly on Wednesday after the Parliamentary Legal Committee issued a non-adverse report on Statutory Instrument 144, which clearly stipulates that presidential candidates will fork out US$20,000 each in the forthcoming general elections.

Furious opposition Members of Parliament questioned the PLC report but the Acting Speaker of the House of Assembly, William Moomba, stood firm, noting that there would be no debate on a non-adverse report.

Citizens Coalition for Change lawmaker, Prince Dubik Siyanda, said the PLC should explain to Zimbabweans why they are supporting the high nomination fees.

“People want to know why you are doing all this. It’s unfair,” said Siyanda.

People intending to contest for seats in the House of Assembly are expected to pay US$1,000, which is equivalent to an annual salary of a Member of Parliament.

But Zanu PF supported the PLC report saying there is need to ensure that only strong candidates are allowed to contest in all the elections.

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The ruling party’s parliamentary chief whip, Pupurai Togarepi, said, “There was commotion in the house. Obviously, it was members trying to politic on a non-procedure. I mean we all know the procedure of parliament regarding bills and how they operate and we all understand what the Constitutional Court said. For us it meant that the process of looking and analyzing the Statutory Instrument was supposed to be finished. That was our understanding and when that ruling was done we followed it through having the Statutory Instrument going its journey through the PLC … And that was done. Yesterday, the PLC came to parliament to report and it did report. It was a non-adverse report.”

He said this means that the gazette nomination fees will be used in the 2023 general elections.

“What was there before proclamation cannot be changed … Whether we were going to debate about these fees, whether we were going to think we can alter them, they were not going to apply in this election. They would apply in 2028 or during primary elections. So, it was just an academic debate, wasting everybody’s time.”

Togarepi emphasized that the fees gazetted in 2022 will be used in the forthcoming general elections “because the fees were already there at the proclamation of the date of the elections.”