By Leopold Munhende I Chief Correspondent
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has stuck to its guns over hefty nomination fees for aspiring candidates, which recently caused a public furore.
The elections management body, however, promised to sit and re-look at the published tariffs for candidates interested in running for office in next year’s harmonised polls.
ZEC recently announced shockingly high fees, which would see all Presidential candidates parting with US$20,000, legislators US$1,000 and US$100 for councillors and senators so as to be considered for nomination.
In 2018, Presidential candidates only paid US$1,000.
A letter in NewZimbabwe.com’s possession, by the commission in response to a challenge on the fees, indicates a meeting will soon be called to consider grievances raised by three activists represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).
Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) legislator, Rusty Markham, 2018 Presidential election losing candidate Egypt Dzinemunezva, and student leader Tapiwa Chiriga lodged a complaint with ZEC and gave it a 72-hour ultimatum to withdraw Statutory Instrument 144/2022 gazetted by government.
ZEC has, however, not reversed the hike.
“Reference is made to the above subject matter and to your letter dated 23 August 2022 regarding the same,” reads the letter signed by ZEC deputy chairperson Rodney Kiwa.
- Biti calls for mass protests as ZEC pegs shock election fees; Madhuku says they are ‘excessive, undemocratic and unconstitutional’
- ZEC given three-day ultimatum to reverse ‘exorbitant’ election nomination fees; Dzinemunhenzva among politicians threatening court challenge
“The contents thereof have been noted. We shall revert to you once the matter has been deliberated upon by the full commission.”
The new fees structure was criticised by opposition party leaders with National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) president, Lovemore Madhuku, laying into ZEC chairperson, Priscilla Chigumba for the move.
“We have been respecting Chigumba very much. We are just appealing to her to be sensible. If she is finding problems with an unreasonable crop of commissioners, then they should tell us,” said Madhuku.
“I thought she is more reasonable and sensible as a judge; she will understand what we are talking about.
“What ZEC has done is quite substantive, it is a power that it is exercising as if it were a legislator, it does not have the power to do that.
“The mere fact is that ZEC is allowed by the Constitution to make certain regulations regarding elections would not give ZEC such drastic powers overnight to change our political discourse.”
At US$1 000 a political party will need US$210 000 for its parliamentarians, if ZEC’s delimitation process does not add to the 210 constituencies currently represented.
It will also have to set aside US$120 000 for its 1 200 local authority candidates in Zimbabwe’s 59 districts and a yet to be determined figure for senators above the US$20 000 for presidency.