Zanu PF gets 53 seats headstart

Joseph Madzimure and Wallace Ruzvidzo

THE ruling Zanu PF party has so far won 53 local authority seats uncontested after opposition political parties failed to field candidates at the close of the Nomination Court on Wednesday.

Zanu PF successfully fielded candidates in all the 210 seats for the National Assembly while the CCC party was mired in confusion leading to the fielding of double candidates in several constituencies.

The self-concocted hotchpotch in the opposition, where some parties failed to raise nomination fees, is however, a boon for the ruling party which has a lead in local authorities without breaking a sweat.

Preliminary results show that Zanu PF won in wards like Gwanda Municipality Ward 1 and Ward 2 represented by Cdes Sithabiso Mpofu and Thulani Moyo respectively as CCC and other opposition parties failed to field candidates.

Owing to confusion within the party, some CCC candidates such as Gwanda Mayor Njabulo Siziba opted to run as independent candidates as they did not appear on the party nomination list.

Mr Sipho Mokoena, who was billed to represent CCC in Gwanda North constituency, was scrapped at the 11th hour and opted to run as an independent candidate.

In some provinces outside Harare, the CCC candidates started filing their paperwork late on Wednesday with patient Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) officials helping them to register at the 11th hour.

This was the case in Bulawayo where all the 12 CCC National Assembly candidates have Zec to thank after they had submitted shambolic papers.

Addressing a press conference in Harare yesterday, Zanu PF national Political Commissar, Cde Mike Bimha, said the ruling party is confident of winning more wards and constituencies.

“We are happy that the party bagged 53 uncontested wards in the local authorities, I say congratulations to the 53 candidates who won without running a big race,” he said.

With regards to the National Assembly seats, Cde Bimha said the party is yet to get the actual reports from Zec.

“I am still waiting to get correct information on the outcome of National Assembly members, but I would like to believe that most of the seats were contested.

“I am happy to say generally, everything went well and we are pleased with the entire process. We didn’t have any challenges with regards to our candidates for the National Assembly throughout all the country’s 10 provinces. We didn’t have any challenges regarding our Senatorial candidates, Women’s quota, Youth quota, as well as candidates for the local authorities,” said Cde Bimha adding that the party is pleased with the nomination process. He hailed the party structures for working tirelessly to ensure a smooth nomination process for the party candidates.

“A lot of our candidates made sure that their paper work was in order and that they met all the requirements as stated in the regulations. Credit should be given to our provinces for ensuring that the preparations were thorough and all the papers were in order.”

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission extended the deadline for the payment of nomination fees to 4pm yesterday to accommodate some prospective candidates who had submitted their papers just before the close of the nomination process.

In a statement, ZEC chief elections officer Mr Utoile Silaigwana said the overriding mission of the commission is to be as accommodative and inclusive as possible to enable Zimbabwean voters to exercise their cherished democratic rights.

But regardless of the largess from the electoral management body, some parties like CCC and the MDC-Alliance could not field candidates in all constituencies.

MDC secretary general Dr Tapiwa Mashakada confirmed yesterday that they only managed to field 80 candidates for the National Assembly members due to financial constraints.

“We managed to field 80 candidates across the country for National Assembly positions, and all candidates for senatorial, women’s quota, youth quota and local authority positions. We managed to bankroll only 80 National Assembly candidates due to financial constraints. We made late payments,” said Dr Mashakada.

CCC spokesperson Advocate Fadzai Mahere said the opposition outfit managed to field candidates in all 210 constituencies with some double fielding which she sought to blame on third parties.

CCC does not have local authority candidates in a considerable number of areas across the country, and there are also constituencies where there are double candidates for the opposition party, exposing its administrative shortcomings.

According to a candidate list made public yesterday by Zec, CCC has double candidates in 15 of the 30 constituencies in Harare province.

These are in Chitungwiza North, Chitungwiza South, Churu, Harare South, Harare West, Hatcliffe, Hatfield, Hunyani, Zengeza East, St Mary’s, Sunningdale, Warren Park, Epworth South, Harare Central and Harare East constituencies.

In the case of St Mary’s, lawyer Mr Freddy Michael Masarirevu, who was nominated to be the CCC candidate during the party’s secretive and chaotic selection process, found himself stranded after being given the run around by senior officials.

He vented his frustrations on Twitter on Wednesday, writing: “In the morning I was called and told I was a candidate, was told to submit papers, went to town, upon arrival was told I was not. Went to Chitown (Chitungwiza), called that I was a candidate. I ended up frustrated and didn’t go. So whatever happened, I have moved on”.

Mr Masarirevu is one of the two CCC candidates in St Mary’s after he filed his papers yet another name had been forwarded to Zec by senior party officials.

Despite the apparent shambolic nomination process, Adv Mahere was putting up a brave face.

“We have fielded candidates in every single one of the 210 constituencies. The reports that I am receiving so far, in as far as the local authority is concerned, is that we are well on course to make sure we field the required 1 970 candidates for local authorities. What it means is that this is the highest number of fielded candidates by an opposition party in the history of Zimbabwe,” claimed Adv Mahere.

But that was not the case as Zanu PF is assured of more than 50 wards owing largely to the opposition’s chaotic preparations for the Nomination Court.

The Herald