NATIONAL Constitutional Assembly (NCA) leader Lovemore Madhuku has hinted that his party might not contest in the 2023 general elections if Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) does not review it’s nomination fees downwards because it’s unaffordable.
Madhuku addressing a press conference in Harare said the NCA and a host of other political parties will be financially incapacitated by the nomination fees set by ZEC last week.
“Everyone knows that it will be impossible for a political party outside ZANU-PF and the dominant major opposition party, half a million United States dollars NCA cannot afford that. I want to be a presidential candidate, my party wants to be parliament candidates, they also want to be candidates for the councillor positions but we have no money, we are Zimbabweans, we want to participate in the elections it’s our constitutional right but we have no money,” said Madhuku.
Madhuku said the fees which now call for a presidential candidate to pay USD$20 000 at nomination court did not accommodate ordinary politicians and violated the meaning of nominal fees as envisaged by the Constitution.
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“We are challenging the concept that has been brought by ZEC which is to move beyond a nominal fee to actually a payment for you, a charge. That’s different. What we had all along was a nominal fee, which is like a birth certificate, you don’t go and buy a birth certificate,” said Madhuku
In a government gazette published last week ZEC set nomination fees which have caused an uproar within political and civic society spaces, with many calling them prohibitive.
According to the new fee structure, a presidential candidate will now pay USD$20 000 in nomination fees. In contrast, a candidate of the House of Assembly pays $1000, while anyone wanting to stand as a councillor or a senator will part with USD$100.
In his address, the NCA leader who is also a Constitutional law expert said the constitution allows the public to be involved.
“That position by ZEC is ridiculous, totally unacceptable, it is unconstitutional, it is undemocratic and ZEC has no power at all to be involved in making such a fundamental decision regarding who stands and who doesn’t stand as a candidate in an election,” Madhuku said.
Madhuku who performed dismally in the 2018 presidential race said he would take his issues to the Political Actors dialogue first and will only go to court if he is not heard.
Watch the press conference here: