Opposition party says ZEC using hefty nomination fees to bar candidates

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

OPPOSITION Zimbabwe Republican Front (ZRF) has challenged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to review downwards presidential and parliamentary nominations fees as most political parties will fail to field candidates.

ZEC gazetted exorbitant nomination fees to be paid by presidential and parliamentary candidates seeking to contest in this year’s elections.

Presidential aspirants will now require to fork out US$20, 000 up from US$1,000 in 2018 while parliamentarians will now be required to pay US$1,000 up from US$50.

Addressing party supporters in Bulawayo Saturday, ZRF vice president Pilani Jamu said the new fees infringes the rights of citizens to seek public office.

“We are calling on ZEC after the flawed delimitation to remove any other barriers such as the highly exorbitant election participation fees so as to keep and maintain democracy in our country.

“Barring other political players by use of exorbitant fees would be an unprecedented move,” said Jamu.

The ZRF president appealed to President Emmerson Mnangagwa to intervene on the issue.

“If the Republic of Zimbabwe is to further its development sustainably there is great need for new players to bring to the fore new ideas. Recently President Mnangagwa told Belarus president that his government treats all political players equally.  If he is sincere, he should not allow ZEC to bar other players by use of whatever barriers,” he added.

Jamu denounced political violence ahead of this year’s elections.

“As a nation, we cannot afford violent elections. We have drawn several lessons from past polls which were violent and in some cases bloody resulting in damage of property, hospitalization of people as well as loss of lives.

“We call upon peace and order to all parties especially the big players who are often at loggerheads. Let us perfect the ground as we enter towards the elections”.