By Darlington Gatsi
POLITICAL parties have dragged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and Justice Minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi, to court to force a downward review of the newly gazetted nomination fees, further mounting pressure on the elections management body.
Forces of Liberation Organisation of African National Party leader, Egypt Dzinemunhenzva, MDC Alliance Member of Parliament Allan Markham and former student activist Tapiwanashe Chiriga, through Shava Law Chambers, last month petitioned ZEC to climb down on the proposed nomination fees.
The political players issued a three day ultimatum to the elections to consider reviewing downwards nomination fees, a timeline which has since lapsed.
The trio has now approached the High Court challenging the nomination tariffs, which in their application argue were unconstitutional.
“Statutory lnstrument 144 of 2022: Electoral (nomination of candidates) (Amendment) regulations 2022 (no.1) is unconstitutional for abrogating the provisions of section 67and 68 as read with section 134(b) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe amendment (number 20) Act 2013.
“Unjustified nomination fee hike by 1st respondent is arbitrary grossly unreasonable, unlawful and violation of section 3(b) of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13),” read the application.
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- Biti calls for mass protests as ZEC pegs shock election fees; Madhuku says they are ‘excessive, undemocratic and unconstitutional’
Under the gazetted SI 144 of 2022, one will need to fork out USD$20 000 to contest for presidency, USD$1 000 to run for Member of Parliament (MP) and USD$200 for a council seat or equivalent in local currency.
The hikes drew widespread condemnation from politicians and legal practitioners, saying they dissuade potential contestants to participate in elections.
ZEC and government defended the fees hike arguing they filter away political candidates that are not serious.
In 2018 elections, over 20 candidates vied for the presidential post and the number could significantly drop should the fees stand.
Political players are demanding the gazetted fees to be set aside in their draft of demands.
“Consequently SI 144 of 2022: Electoral (nomination of candidates) (amendment) regulations 2022 be and is hereby set aside,” read the application.
The matter is yet to be set down for hearing.