Of 2 presidential candidates, plus 21 others

THEY came literally from all walks of life, in a kaleidoscope of colours, shapes and sizes to stake a claim to Zimbabwe’s top job and in the end 23 will go into the hat in what is set to be a brutal fight for the coveted crown.

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

The majority, however, look like they are fly-by-night weaklings whose only inspiration to be on the ballot paper is to be recorded in history books as having at some point contested as president.

Chimurenga music singer Bryn Taurai Mteki said his ambition is to transform the lives of Zimbabweans, but asked how he is going to campaign in the election said: “I will just chill at home. I will not have any public campaign. I will wait for election day now that my papers have been accepted.”

It summed up the mentality in most of the presidential aspirants. They are going to be on the ballot for fun.

One of the aspiring candidates Peter Munyanduri of the New Patriotic Front struggled to get his act together including having to be assisted by journalists after his mobile phone battery died before he paid the requisite fee.

Former Cabinet minister Jonathan Moyo used his Twitter account urging some to step aside: “The 23 presidential candidates. Waiting to see which of these will do right and respect the electorate by withdrawing asap!”

Political analysts argue the calibre and quality of most of the 23 aspiring presidential candidates leaves a lot to be desired while the more rabid critics have labelled the less glamorous candidates as “Zanu PF pawns paid to validate” President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime.

International Crisis Group consultant Piers Pigou accused some of the contestants as “delusional”.

“Most have minimal support bases and the election is likely to simply reinforce this reality. Twenty-three candidates is an unfeasible number of aspirants. For some candidates it is about principle and symbolism; for others it may well be little more than egotistical vanity project or something bordering in self-delusion,” Pigou said.

Political scientist Eldred Masunungure concurred and argued for strict criterion including steep fees for prospective presidential candidates.


“We need more rigorous requirements such as raising the fee from $1 000 to at least $10 000 and the number of nominators per province from 10 to maybe a 1 000 or above 500,” he said.

Masunungure acknowledged however, there have been notable improvements in the electoral environment.

“There is a major improvement, that must be acknowledged, give the devil his dues. But there are areas we can improve including, but not limited to access to the State media. Even from surveys that have been done, the reality is that Zimbabweans are happy with the biometric voter registration system, but there are still dark spots that tend to erode the credibility of the electoral process.”

Lawmaker and gender activist Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, who after indicating she was taking a hiatus from politics, again hogged the limelight appearing as MDC-T faction leader Thokozani Khupe’s chief election agent. Misihairabwi-Mushonga went one step further, as she was wearing a sweater inscribed unprintable words under a #MeToo campaign purportedly in protest against Khupe’s abuse by rival supporters during a court hearing over the use of the party name.

“We are happy this is the first time we have a credible female candidate. Our chances are good and this is historic,” Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.

Pigou said candidates, especially with little noticeable support like NCA’s Lovemore Madhuku, could be hoping to play kingmaker in the event of a run-off.

“It will be interesting to see how many provide an honest answer to their candidacy, when they don’t stand a snowballs chance in hell of succeeding. This seems particularly the case with parties and political brands that have already demonstrated negligible levels of support, like the NCA.

“Some may be hoping the race goes to a second round and their support gives them some leverage ahead of a subsequent endorsement,” Pigou said.

But Coalition of Democrats presidential aspirant Elton Mangoma said his chances were as “good as anyone’s, if not better”.

“This is a unique election which is open. Rallies are not a measure of support and the MDC in particular has shown that in the past. It has failed to win power despite attracting tens of thousands to its rallies,” Mangoma said.

Asked what he thought about accusations that smaller parties were being used by Zanu PF to validate its win, Mangoma had no kind words.

“It is a narrative pushed by people who are actually working with the regime to divert attention from their nefarious activities. We have the history of these people, now they are working with (former President Robert) Mugabe and its public knowledge. They have admiration for the system now they are pointing fingers at others,” Mangoma said.
Another political commentator Sithembile Mpofu said while the expanded field could be an indicator that the political playfield was no longer a hard-hat area as was the case under Mugabe, the calibre of the candidates was a “cause for concern”.

“The number of candidates that have entered the presidential race demonstrates that the political arena is not as volatile as it has been in recent years. Individuals feel free enough to put their hats in the ring without fear of recrimination. In this sense, it is a very positive development and perhaps an indicator of people’s freedom to participate in the political arena.

“However, the number and the quality of candidates provides food for thought. The criterion provided for an individual to contest for the most important job in the country allow for pretty much anybody to contest,” Mpofu said.

She added: “Looking at the field of candidates, what struck me was the fact that the majority of the candidates seem to be under the impression that a president runs a country on their own. They have rejected calls to join with any coalition saying that the coalitions are weak and yet their political parties are not fielding a significant number of candidates for parliamentary seats.”

Pretoria University lecturer Ricky Mukonza said a “good number of the contestants lack intelligence and character” to run a government.

“Maybe that is what democracy gives when practiced without restrictions. I think that would be a good way to screen chancers.

“More than that, it would also be good to restrict people aspiring for the presidency or other high level political positions on the basis of what one has achieved in life. The reason for this is that entering in to politics should be seen as a way of giving back to society rather than a means of earning a living,” Mukonza said, blaming a failing economy for the deluge of candidates who flooded the nomination courts last week.

Pigou also argued the large number of candidates does not necessarily mean the presence of democracy.

“Very superficially, perhaps so, but more names on the ballot paper does not necessarily mean any real improvement in choice. I don’t think this either validates the process or reflects manipulation. Rather it reflects ongoing challenges in a compromised context.

“The cost of participating is relatively low; this facilitates opportunities for opportunists,” he said.

The fight in the end is between Mnangagwa and MDC Alliance challenger Nelson Chamisa plus 21 others.

Loading...

21 Comments

  1. In order to glean the chaff from the grain indeed more rigorous requirements should henceforth be put into place.It seems the pretenders are not intimidated by the 1 000 dollar registration which they all consider paltry.A country with close to 14 million people also needs more people per province to endorse the candidates instead of the salutary 10. People like Brian Muteki would have fared reasonably better off had they registered as council ward candidates instead of MP’s let alone the high bar of President that they can not even dream of jumping over.

    1. I think presidential candidates should deposit $10000 non-refundable. Then they should have 1000 signatures per province from registered voters. That way we would be able to have only serious contenders nominated, not the 20 or so clowns who waste our time and resources competing knowing fully well that they would not garner even 3000 votes. The presidential job should not be something we should joke about.

    2. No one should use segregation methods in selecting who should be what. All candidates do qualify to rule this country. No one is chaff. The Zimbabwean people will chose through the ballot, period.

  2. kkkkkkk president like scruffy Muteki pictured above surely hahahahaha.

  3. Vakabhadharirwa ma 1000 ayo na someone anoda kuzonzi he won resoundingly

  4. Garikai Muchemwa

    battery died ahh

    1. hahahahahaha. I noticed that as well.

      1. Vimbai Kamoyo

        Yes that is good English.

      2. perfect English if you did not know

  5. Comment…Siyanayi nekutakura vanhu kuenda kumisangano. Musi mukuru waChikunguru 30 muchatitakurazve here?

  6. i think if ED used this strategy it might work against him… obviously the two front runners wont be on the same page, making it difficult to do the famous disappearing ink rigging formula… #justthinking

  7. i think if ED used this strategy it might work against him… obviously the two front runners wont be on the same page, making it difficult to do the famous disappearing ink rigging formula… #justthinking

  8. taura zvako saMuteki angaiwanepi 1000 yekurasa achiziva hake kuti kana 5 votes panyika yose haana……there is some1 behind all that

  9. That’s exactly what happens when people have been under oppression for a long time and do not know when to stop their celebration of freedom, at the same time going off bounce when the same freedom haunts them through legitimising another form of oppression with a different face. Such is life.

  10. Haaa vana muteki hapana hapana its a sheer waste of tyme en resources

  11. Some will not even be voted for by their family members. Reminiscent of Kenya’s 2013 election where one presidential candidate got zero vote in his running mate’s polling station meaning that nobody including him voted for the candidate. They ended up to almost fighting. This is a two-horse race.

  12. Mushrooming of presidential candidates is clear sign of lack of open space in the main parties,the MUGABE-TSVANGIRA ERA where the two men monopolized leadership for years remains a bad omen for Zimbabwe.While it is true it appears ugly to have too many candidates in the ring for the national presidency,but raising participating fee,or n other measure to block the candidates is not the answer.This is an issue which could only b solved by open primaries within the main parties. Otherway again is to hav a criterion to stop the losing Chamisa or ED to feature again in the next election season

  13. hahahahahaha. I noticed that as well.

  14. Mushrooming presidential candidates are clear sign that there are no open platforms for all interested persons in the main parties.Raising participating fee or n other obstacles set to block them will b clear act of citizen oppression.The answer is only to force main political parties to open space for all interested so that the problem of too many candidates will b dealt with at primaries within the political parties

  15. Mteki cannot even pay his workers at Athlone Supermarket…let alone stock up! Ngaapere mushe, what a clown….hahahahahahaha

  16. Zimbabweans are more interested in becoming President and a Millionaire at the same time (because those are the logical steps in Zimbabwe!) than in deposing a bloody and murderous regime of Zanu PF . You will get exactly what you deserve, another decade of Dictatorship by the very man who persecutes you. What stupidity! Could you not for a minute disregard personal greed and unite?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.