AHEAD of harmonised elections on August 23, Zanu PF is already off the blocks and commands a comfortable head start against its disorganised rivals who are yet to come up with candidates even after the opening of the Nomination Court.
Already, the ruling party has dispensed of its primary elections and just last week the party’s successful candidates underwent an orientation programme in Gweru designed to ensure there is a common vision during the campaign period.
With the Nomination Courts opening, candidates from the ruling party are already submitting their papers — leaving room for corrections if any are needed, an organisation acumen that has won plaudits from both friends and foes.
Analysts say there is no shortcut to success and the ruling party — which has invested heavily towards the elections, and whose leader President Mnangagwa has transformed the country in a short space of time — is poised for a landslide victory that will consign pretenders to dustbins of history.
In an interview, Zanu PF Political Commissar Cde Mike Bimha said the ruling party is not leaving anything to chance and is currently receiving successful candidates’ nomination papers in respective provinces and wards across the country.
“As part of our election preparations, National Assembly candidates are being advised to collect nomination forms at ZEC offices in their respective provinces and those must be completed and submitted to their respective provincial party offices not later than June 16, 2023.
“Local Authority candidates should submit their completed forms at their DCC offices before June 16. This will help our staff to go through the papers and rectify any errors if any before the nomination day, let us treat this exercise with urgency above any other programmes,” said Cde Bimha.
In stark contrast, the opposition parties are at sixes and sevens, with the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) currently bogged down in its candidate selection process which is fraught with irregularities and manipulation.
Last week, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) invited political parties who intend to field candidates in this year’s harmonised elections to provide names of at least three provincial office bearers of the party authorised to sign documents on behalf of their organisation.
Mr Nelson Chamisa, the leader of CCC, is facing a nightmarish task as he tyrannically claims to be the sole signatory of nomination forms, ostensibly to avoid fielding double candidates.
A political analyst and Researcher Mr Gibson Nyikadzino said the absence of political structures, as administrative instruments in the opposition CCC, is likely to trigger political anxieties among the people, who currently are not certain on who is contesting where, and who is representing which constituency, because the decision making power, administrative power and delegation of financial resources all come from one person.
This, he said, has a potential to destabilise the CCC emanating from a lack of transparency in pursuit of a culture of secrecy.
“At a micro level, giving that power to an individual can have damaging consequences at a macro scale as a lack of institution means after that individual, there won’t be progress, for which structures and institutions are a strength of Zanu PF in ensuring mobilisation of masses,” said Mr Nyikadzino.
Another political analyst Dr Hamadziripi Dube said Mr Chamisa is facing a test of planning and seriousness in the political business.
“He leads a briefcase party in which he himself put people in any position without the people’s mandate to lead. Mr Chamisa failed to let his supporters choose their own leaders into the echelon of the party, how can such a leader declare his interest in running for the Presidency in Zimbabwe,” said Dr Dube.
Apart from being in disarray the opaqueness of Mr Chamisa has rattled some of his donors leaving broke candidates to fundraise on their own.
Thus the Western sponsored party is allegedly failing to raise money for nomination fees for presidential, parliamentary and local authority candidates.
In August last year, ZEC gazetted SI 144 of 2022 on the Electoral (Nomination of Candidates) (Amendment) Regulations, 2022 (No.1), increasing presidential nomination fees from US$1 000 to US$20 000 per candidate.
The nomination fees for National Assembly and Senate candidates also increased from US$50 to US$1 000.
Close sources within the CCC cited funding as the major drawback to fielding more candidates saying only a few, especially those in urban centres, will contest.