ZANU-PF’s preparedness ahead of the harmonised elections was showcased yesterday through its flawless display during the filing of nomination papers by candidates compared to the chaos that characterised the submitting of papers by opposition parties, mainly the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).
By 9AM, most parliamentary and Provincial Council candidates had arrived at the Nomination Court at Tredgold Magistrates Court in Bulawayo while local authority candidates converged at Bulawayo City Council Chambers.
When the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) opened up the process to allow candidates to submit their papers, it was the ruling party candidates who started to submit their papers as well as members of some minor political parties, largely without any incident.
CCC candidates waited for most of the day for their papers from Harare and only started submitting them after 2PM.
MDC candidates started submitting their papers after 12PM as they had challenges with signatures.
By 9PM last night, scores of both CCC and MDC candidates were still finalising the process as some of their papers were not in order.
MDC spokesperson Witness Dube said his party started submitting nomination papers almost at midday as they had challenges with presentation of authenticating signatures.
” Our candidates are already filling, although we had a few hiccups. It was difficult to check if someone was registered to vote,” said Mr Dube.
“The Zec server was not reliable and some of the nominees were not registered voters. So, some of our candidates are still busy trying to get one to two nominees in order to file by the end of the day. But we hope we will be able to file 100 percent for Parliamentary, Proportional Representation and Local Authority that we need to submit.”
On the contrary, it was all smiles among Zanu PF members with Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube arriving at 11AM to personally submit his nomination papers.
“This is a necessary legal process for us to contest in the forthcoming general elections. I’ve come to file my papers. I’m ready for battle. And I promise development, development and development for the constituency that I have chosen, Cowdray Park. I enjoy working there and serving the people, I enjoy serving the people,” said Prof Ncube.
Cde Nkosana Mkandla, who also successfully filed nomination papers for Bulawayo North constituency said the country was heading towards elections, the fruits of independence that was brought by Zanu-PF.
“Everything so far is going so well, we have a lot of candidates from all parties that are vying to represent different constituencies and wards in the city of Bulawayo. This is a good thing that we have so many candidates and this was made possible by Zanu PF. This was a privilege that was awarded to only a few from a certain race. So Zanu PF made sure that it is available to everyone,” said Cde Mkandla.
CCC aspiring councillor Mr David Coltart, who was also at the court to file his papers, said the opposition had failed to deliver in local authorities hence it was time to atone for its sins.
It is understood that Mr Coltart wants to be the city’s mayor but when asked about that he said he does not want to count his chickens before they hatch.
“If there is any justifiable criticism of MDC in the last 23 years since it was established in 1999 is that we won the urban councils but we are not effective enough. That is important to address and I hope in us standing here we will be able to address that and transform not just Bulawayo but cities around the country,” he added.
In Matabeleland South Province, Zanu-PF candidates were among the first to submit their papers.
The nomination court ran smoothly for the greater part of the day with a handful of candidates with inadequate paperwork being turned away to get their houses in order.
By 2.39PM, no CCC candidates had submitted their nomination papers amid reports that they were waiting for the necessary paperwork to arrive from Harare.
CCC candidates caucused at “Yellow House”, the party’s offices in Gwanda, for most of the day as they waited to have their turn at the nomination court. Some independent candidates were still struggling to put their paperwork together by afternoon as time ran out before the close of business.
It was only at 3.50PM that CCC candidates flocked the nomination court before doors were closed at 4PM.
At around 6PM, tensions were rising outside the nomination court as some CCC candidates had failed to meet the 4PM deadline. Despite being turned away, they continued to mill by the courtroom doors.
Among those who successfully submitted their papers to contest for seats in the National Assembly were Zanu-PF candidates Cdes Dingumuzi Phuthi (Bulilima), Sindisiwe Nleya (Mangwe), Farai Taruvinga (Insiza North), Omphile Marupi (Gwanda South), Levi Mayihlome (Umzingwane) and Edgar Moyo (Matobo).
Luxon Ncube, Thembinkosi Nkomo and Anthony Ndlovu of Zapu also successfully submitted their nomination papers. Among independent candidates, Jacob Ngwenya and Mlungisi Nyathi also successfully submitted their papers.
Happy Gumbo of United Zimbabwe Alliance party and Julius Zulu of ZCPB party also managed to submit their nomination papers successfully.
In an interview after successfully submitting his nomination papers, Zanu-PF Bulilima constituency candidate Cde Phuti said the process was smooth.
“I’m excited that I was one of the first people who managed to submit their nomination papers successfully. We’re ready for elections and when I leave here, I’m reverting to my constituency and I promise my party Zanu-PF, my President Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa and my constituents in Bulilima that I’ll remain loyal and dedicated to service. We’re going to continue serving and add on to the five pillars that we’ve been using,” he said.
Matabeleland South provincial elections officer Mr Rabson Nyoni said the nomination court ran smoothly.
“It was a peaceful process and we didn’t have any incidents of violence. The candidates were submitting their paperwork in an organized manner, there were no challenges with their conduct,” said Mr Nyoni.
The nomination court was still processing submissions brought in at 4PM well into the evening.
“We’re still processing papers for those who came at 4PM. We didn’t attend to anyone that came after 4PM because according to the law, that person is not part of this court. You can’t bring your papers at 4PM for the first time. You have to have brought them before but after closing the doors at 4PM, we won’t open for you,” said Mr Nyoni.
In Matabeleland North, candidates eyeing the National Assembly, Senatorial and Women’s quota seats thronged Lupane Magistrates Court to file nomination papers to represent their political parties in the harmonised elections.
Zanu PF candidates successfully filed their papers for National Assembly, Senatorial, Women’s Quota and local authority.
The ruling party’s provincial administrator Cde Bigboy Nkiwane submitted the papers for all candidates.
Zanu PF provincial chairman Cde Richard Moyo who is the sitting MP for Umguza said the process went smoothly with all candidates filing their nomination papers.
“From the Zanu PF side, we were really happy with the process at the nomination court which went well and all our candidates for the National Assembly, Senatorial and Women’ s Quota including those aspiring to be councilors successfully filed their nomination papers without any challenges,” he said.
“We are raring to go come election and once the President launches the party’s election manifesto we hit the ground running and we are hopeful of retaining our seats and reclaiming those under the opposition because of the confidence that our people have in the Second Republic which is spearheading development and economic growth in our province and the country at large.”
There was however, confusion from opposition parties as candidates waited for hours to file their nomination papers because they had no money to pay the nomination fees.
Mr Libion Sibanda who is representing CCC in Tsholotsho North said the process went well while his counterpart from Zapu Mr Gumpo Dokotela who also successfully filed the papers said they were raring to go.
In Hwange, the local board offices were teeming with activity as scores of aspiring councillors mostly from Zanu PF and CCC queued to file their nominal papers.
Some CCC candidates were turned away after arriving at the nomination court after 4PM.
Zec officials refused to talk to the media.
In Victoria Falls, the nomination court sat at the Victoria Falls City Council boardroom where candidates submitted their papers.
Zanu-PF candidates were the first to submit their papers while candidates from CCC waited outside until in the afternoon as the party was reportedly yet to finalise the list of candidates.
Zapu had seven candidates that successfully submitted papers while the MDC led by Douglas Mwonzora also fielded.
There were about five candidates, some of whom former opposition members who submitted their papers as independent candidates.
A Mthwakazi Republic Party candidate was disqualified for not having a long birth certificate.
The nomination court closed after 4pm and by 7pm candidates were still milling around waiting for announcement of the final list.
In the Midlands province, aspiring members of the National Assembly, Provincial Council, Senate and local authorities for political parties which included Zanu PF, CCC and MDC T started filing their nomination papers at 10 AM.
The aspiring National Assembly, Provincial Council and Senate members filed at Gweru Magistrates Court while local authorities’ candidates filed at different local authorities across the eight administrative districts of the province.
The nomination court at Gweru Magistrates Court closed at 4PM but extended as aspiring candidates were being vetted meticulously.
By 1930PM, the nomination court officials were still vetting the papers from the aspiring candidates.
Announcement of successful candidates was expected later last night.
Meanwhile, opposition ZAPU president, Mr Sibangilizwe Nkomo, reportedly chickened, much to the shock of members.
Party spokesperson, Mr Msongelwa Ndlovu, however said their non-filing was as a result of the huge nomination fees which their party felt was unreasonable. He added that due to the unreasonable fees, ZAPU was therefore, never going to be part of the presidential election process.
“We didn’t pull out because we didn’t get in in the first place. We have been ready to contest but not to buy our democratic rights for US$20,000. That is irresponsible and unnecessary. Our view is that it sends a very bad message to children from disadvantaged backgrounds to say you cannot aspire to be a President unless you are rich or corrupt,” said Mr Ndlovu.
However, sources within the party told Chronicle that failure to run for presidency has nothing to do with nomination fees, as the party had harnessed the necessary financial resources for that process
“The president told us last night, much to our shock, that he had decided not to run for presidency.
Everyone who was in the meeting was shocked but crucially, very angry. Why angry? Because of the timing of the cowardly announcement which left the party with no any other option because ordinarily the party would then have appointed another member to run for the presidency,” said a source.