ERC Africa preaches peace as Zim gears up for August elections

By Nyasha Mutena

Election Resource Centre (ERC) Africa has commended the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) for taking all steps and measures to ensure all aspiring candidates have access to the nomination centers as well as get all the administrative justice due to them.

Through an official statement issued to provide an overall analysis of the nomination processes, ERC Africa highlighted that Zinbabweans maintained peace throughout the whole process.

“We applaud Zimbabweans for ensuring peaceful participation in this nomination process, as observed in most centers across the country. We also urge political parties and all citizens to develop a culture of preparation by understanding all nomination processes and requirements required for successful nomination in order to avoid unnecessary disqualifications as observed in certain areas.

“As we look beyond the nomination process, ERC Africa encourages political parties and candidates to campaign in peace and to exercise tolerance ahead of the 2023 Harmonised elections. We remain committed to promoting electoral excellence in Zimbabwe and Africa,” said ERC Africa.

Meanwhile, below is an extract from ERC Africa’s observations during the nomination proceedings.

Nomination Process

ERC monitors observed that most aspiring candidates had filed their papers prior to the nomination court sitting on June 21. The ERC notes that the fairness of the nomination process was possibly impacted as a number of candidates were disqualified due to “illegal” nominators. This issue could have been avoided had the Electoral Commission provided a copy of the voters’ roll to political parties ahead of the nomination court day for candidates to be able to verify their nominators registration status.

ERC monitors also noted double candidacies from the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party in a number of districts. Double candidates were noted in Bulawayo, Harare, and Marondera districts. Additionally, according to @CITEZW, 20 aspiring National Assembly candidates representing the MDC-T party were disqualified after they failed to pay nomination fees. 22 nomination forms for the National Assembly were rejected after the candidates submitted the forms and disappeared.

At Marondera Magistrate Court, two candidates from Citizen Coalition for Change, Misheck Manyere and Caston Matewu, submitted nomination papers for the same National Assembly election for Marondera Central Constituency. In Shurugwi, the monitors noted that an alleged ZANU-PF losing candidate in Ward 7 attempted to file as an independent candidate and was reportedly removed from the Nomination Court by security personnel. However, he subsequently successfully filed his nomination papers as an independent candidate.

Rejected Papers

In Plumtree, two candidates’ nomination forms were declined for the local authority election. The prospective candidates were disqualified due to the candidate not appearing on the voter roll, while another candidate purportedly representing CCC had no party signature.

Nomination papers for the local authority election were rejected in Makoni and one application in Marondera. The reasons for rejection included that the names of the person nominating the candidate did not appear on the voter‘s roll, their papers had missing details, and some candidates failed to submit their papers on time.

Only one candidate, Marry Kanyoka, representing UZZI in Chipinge for the Ward election, was rejected because she was not registered in the ward she was contesting. In Chipinge, three candidates at the local authority level were disqualified from nomination: two for not appearing in the Ward of contestation and one for not having an original birth certificate and ID.

Observers

The ERC noted that the court rooms and nomination rooms allocated for the nomination process were generally small, leading to overcrowding. Additionally, due to the overcrowding at nomination venues, citizens and ERC monitors were barred from accessing some venues to observe the nomination process in a bid to accommodate candidates and agents. ERC noted that observers were barred in Bulawayo.

Violence

While the environment on nomination day was peaceful, the ERC noted a case of intra-party violence in Chinhoyi, Mashonaland West, where ZANU PF members assaulted a fellow member who had attempted to submit a Proportional Representation list different from the signed and stamped list, despite the fact that hers was also signed by the party chairperson.

ZANU PF Chegutu West MP, who lost during the primary elections, was in Chinhoyi for a routine court appearance on the separate case of prospecting at David White Head premises in Chegutu without a license; unfortunately, the court was at the same premises as the nomination court. He was attacked by other ZANU PF members, including an MP aspirant. The reason was that he wanted to gain entry into the court to submit his nomination papers.

ZANU PF Spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa, who was vying for the Senate, reportedly entered the nomination court in Chinhoyi while wearing a political party cap, which increased tensions at the nomination court. The monitor reported violence within ZANU-PF, which was triggered when two candidates both filed nomination papers for the same Ward 8 Karoi Town Council.

Women Participation

ERC notes that the bulk of the successful candidates were men at the presidential, parliamentary, and Council levels. While the Constitution of Zimbabwe supports women’s participation in elections, it is imperative for political parties to ensure gender equality when presenting representation lists.

The ERC commends the Zimbabwe Gender Commission, as their observers were witnessed at Gweru Magistrates Court observing the nomination process.

ERC takes note of various media outlets that covered the nomination process throughout the day, relaying key electoral information and giving live updates at different counts across the country. ZTN Prime covered the nomination proceedings from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and also gave ERC space to talk about the 2018 international observer recommendations and current status, priorities for reforms, and the nomination court requirements. CITE also covered Bulawayo and Matabeleland provinces, giving viewers live updates throughout the day. Open Parly and

The community podium also relayed key information throughout the day. The ERC commends various media outlets, as reporters were witnessed throughout the nomination courts reporting on the nomination process.

 

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