Over 30 candidates eye nine Parly seats

MORE than 30 candidates will contest for nine National Assembly seats that fell vacant in Bulawayo, Matabeleland North, Harare and Matabeleland South provinces after the CCC recalled them.

CCC interim secretary general, Mr Sengenzo Tshabangu, threw the opposition party into chaos when he recently recalled 15 legislators, nine National Assembly seat holders with others elected through a quota system, claiming they had ceased being their members.

The party also recalled several councillors, prompting President Mnangagwa to proclaim November 7 as the Nomination Court date and December 9 for by-elections.

Yesterday, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) presided over the Nomination Court proceedings in areas where vacant seats were announced with candidates jostling to file their papers. 

The Nomination Court sat at 10AM and closed at 4PM across the country.

In Bulawayo, ZEC presiding officer Mrs Mavis Mudiwakure said 23 candidates had filed their papers and only 18 prevailed as four of them failed to raise the required US$1 000 to contest while another candidate was disqualified as their papers were not in order. 

The proceedings were held at the Bulawayo Magistrate Courts housed at Tredgold Building. The recalled legislators in Bulawayo include Mr Pashor Sibanda (Cowdray Park), Ms Nicola Watson (Bulawayo South), Mr Ereck Gono (Lobengula-Magwegwe), Obert Manduna (Nketa) and Desmond Makaza (Mpopoma-Mzilikazi).

In Matabeleland South, nomination officer Mr Rabson Nyoni said five candidates successfully filed their papers to contest for the Beitbridge West seat after Mr Morgan Dube was recalled.

The Nomination Court sat at the Gwanda Magistrate Courts and CCC fielded double candidates. In Matabeleland North, the nomination officer, Mr Richard Sibanda, said six candidates successfully submitted nomination papers at the Lupane Magistrate Courts.

This was after Binga North’s Mr Prince Dubeko Sibanda and Lupane East’s Bright Moyo Vanya  were recalled.

During proceedings, CCC aspiring candidate for Binga North, Mr Sibanda, caused a scene after the ZEC presiding officer had informed him that his papers were not in order. He was, however, able to fix his papers before the presiding officer accepted them.

CCC also had double candidates in Binga North and Lupane East constituencies. 

Bulawayo also had eight vacancies in council, and by the time of going to print, ZEC was still finalising the nomination papers, as there was a high number of aspiring candidates.

In Harare, the Nomination Court sat at the Rotten Row Magistrates Court and received nomination papers for Cde Pedzisai Scott Sakupwanya (Zanu PF) and CCC’s Mr Munyaradzi Kufahakutizwi, who are eyeing the Mabvuku-Tafara Constituency.

In Masvingo City Council, four candidates will battle it out to replace recalled Ward 2 Councillor Shantel Chiwara, who had been elected the city’s mayor.

The four successfully filed their papers at Masvingo City Council offices. Zanu PF and the CCC and its double candidates were the only parties that were able to field candidates across all the available seats.  

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of Nomination Court in Bulawayo, ZEC chief elections officer Mr Utloile Silaigwana said proceedings were done in accordance with the law across the country.

He said ZEC went a step further to record the exact time when a candidate filed their papers to avoid incidents where the electoral management body is accused of accepting papers after scheduled timelines.   

“I’m happy to say the Nomination Court opened here in Bulawayo at 10AM and I have confirmed that across the country the nomination courts opened on time. 

“There were no issues at 10AM and it will close at 4PM. What is important is that those who want to contest will submit all their papers before 4PM and nominators, as well as the requisite fee as it applies to the National Assembly,” said Mr Silaigwana. 

“If by 4PM you fail to pay the prescribed fee it means you will not be duly nominated and you will not contest in the constituency that you intend to contest. For those who want to contest for council seats, there is no fee that is paid. I want to make this clear, if you submit your papers before 4PM but some issues need to be attended to on your papers, the court can adjourn giving you time to submit your papers. But after 4PM no new papers will be submitted.”

Mr Silaigwana said the completion of the nomination process marks the start of the campaign period and ZEC will start voter education processes.  

He said the electoral management body is confident that the Government will adequately fund the polls.

“In terms of election funding, Government is always ready to fund us, it has always funded us and it has never failed to fund us. So, we don’t have a problem in that regard. As ZEC, when the Nomination Court sits, that’s when we are certain that we are going to have an election,” said Mr Silaigwana.

Regarding double candidates, Mr Silaigwana said it was not ZEC’s mandate to discredit signatures coming from political parties.

Herald

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