Candidates from various political parties jostled to file their nomination papers in Bulawayo and Matabeleland North provinces yesterday amid fears of duplication by the parties in some constituencies as disgruntled MDC Alliance members submitted their papers under the MDC-T banner.
BY STAFF REPORTERS/OWN CORRESPONDENT
Bulawayo Provincial Elections officer Innocent Ncube presided over the nomination process which began at 10am.
MDC Alliance, MDC-T Thokozani Khupe, Zanu PF, Zapu, People’s Rainbow Coalition (PRC), National People’s Party and Mthwakazi Republic Party candidates trooped to Tredgold Nomination Court in Bulawayo yesterday, while others submitted their papers to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) on Wednesday. New and little known political parties also emerged during nomination.
It is understood that disgruntled members of the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC-T had opted to submit papers for nomination as MDC-T, when Khupe fielded candidates under same name.
An official from Chamisa’s camp who spoke on condition of anonymity said the imposition of candidates was rife in Bulawayo leading to candidates filing their papers as MDC-T and not under the MDC Alliance banner.
“We are likely to see quite a number of MDC-T candidates those who are coming from the Khupe faction and those who are from the Chamisa faction,” the party official said. “The provincial leaders imposed candidates and members are not happy so they will contest as MDC-T.”
Zapu also appeared to have too many candidates amid concern by those who were selected that some of the nominees were imposed by party leader Dabengwa at the last hour.
“There is likely to be confusion here because we hear that there are some candidates who were imposed by our leader and this will come out clear when the announcement of candidates is done late in the day,” a Zapu candidate said.
PRC aspiring candidate for Magwegwe Fortune Mlalazi was ecstatic that his party was not confused like other parties. He also successfully submitted the nomination papers.
Notable figures who submitted their papers include Sithembiso Nyoni (Zanu PF), Tshinga Dube (Zanu PF), Raji Modi (Zanu PF), Watson Nicola (MDC Alliance), Joseph Tshuma (Zanu PF), Gideon Shoko (MDC Alliance), Witness Dube of the Khupe-led MDC-T, lawyer Kholwani Ngwenya (Khupe MDC-T) and Maidei Mpala (Zanu PF).
Over 100 nomination papers were filed at the Bulawayo nomination court for only 12 constituencies.
Matabeleland North nomination court for legislators was conducted at the Western Commonage Courts in Bulawayo amid complaints by candidates that it was too costly for them to travel to Bulawayo.
Aspiring legislators from Matabeleland North lambasted Zec for putting nominations in Bulawayo instead of their provincial capital in Lupane which was only dealing with council candidates.
“We don’t want that. All other nominations are being done in provincial capitals. Lupane is our Matabeleland North provincial capital and we are legislators from that province. So it would be good for us if those nominations were done in Lupane not in Bulawayo as if we will do elections in Bulawayo. If Zec wants to do this, then it means even results would be done here. The cost for nomination was not $50 because I had to fork out over $100 including transport my election agent. So it’s very expensive for us,” Lupane West legislator, Martin Khumalo told Southern Eye.
There are 28 wards in Lupane.
MDC-T led by Khupe reportedly could not locate some of their council candidates amid fears they might have chickened out.
The MDC-T candidates who reportedly went AWOL were from Gomoza, Lupupu, Lupaka, Lusulu and Ndimimbili.
Liberty Sabelo Nyoni, the MDC Alliance representative and ward 13, Jotsholo, candidate refuted claims that some of their candidates had developed cold feet.
“We have all our candidates, none chickened out. We have met all the requirements thanks to the engagements we have had with Zec prior to this day,” he said.
Since the start of the nomination courts in Bulawayo and Lupane not one National Patriotic Front nominees was seen amid revelations the party was not fielding candidates in the provinces.
MDC Alliance and Zanu PF fielded candidates in all wards in the province.
Zanu PF Lupane district coordinator Edwin Mpofu said: “The process is going on smoothly, we have no complaints against Zec. None of our known members filed as an independent or as National Patriotic Front as we are united as Mat North.”
In Gwanda, disgruntled Zanu PF member, Lungisani Costa Ncube, filed his nomination papers as an independent candidate after his name was “omitted” during the party’s primary elections.
He will face former party colleague and incumbent legislator for Gwanda North Madodana Sibanda.
Ncube, a miner, said people in his constituency asked him to register as an independent candidate.
“My name was missing and I know that was deliberate. I am going to win, people know my work,” Ncube told journalists at the Gwanda nomination court yesterday.