YESTERDAY marked the closing of voter registration for the upcoming harmonised elections, according to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
As part of the nomination process, individuals vying for the presidential position will be required to pay a nomination fee of US$20 000, while those contesting parliamentary seats will need to pay US$1 000.
President Mnangagwa on Wednesday proclaimed August 23 as the date for the harmonised elections.
The proclamation signalled the start of the election season, with the Nomination Court scheduled to convene on June 21. During the elections, the electorate will have the opportunity to choose the President, Members of Parliament, and councillors.
In a statement yesterday, ZEC chief elections officer, Mr Utoile Silaigwana said the commission expects to have fixed all the challenges that were witnessed during the voters’ roll inspection exercise, and will be addressed by the time the Nomination Court seats.
“Following the proclamation by the State President His Excellency ED Mnangagwa setting 23 August 2023 as the Harmonised Elections date, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) would like to advise the electorate that the voters’ roll for the elections will close on 2 June 2023 in accordance with Section 26A of the Electoral Act,” said Mr Silaigwana.
He said the electorate should continue to check their details on the voters roll using the *265# platform for NetOne and Econet mobile phone subscribers.
“The commission would like to assure members of the public that it will rectify any anomalies that were observed during the voters’ roll inspection exercise. This will be done during the compilation of the final voters’ roll that shall be availed free to prospective candidates after 21 June 2023, the day that has been fixed for nomination courts,” he said.
Mr Silaigwana said prospective candidates may start filling their nomination papers at ZEC offices as it will enable officials to help make corrections.
“Aspiring presidential candidates must send their nomination papers to ZEC Head Office, while those aspiring to contest as Members of Parliament and councillors may file their nominations at ZEC provincial and district offices respectively nomination forms are available at ZEC offices and on the Commission’s website www.zec.org.zw,” said Mr Silaigwana.
“Early filing of nomination papers will enable correction of errors on the forms well in advance of nomination day.”
To be nominated, aspiring presidential candidates must secure support from 100 registered voters, with a minimum of 10 from each of Zimbabwe’s provinces. For National Assembly Constituency and council prospective candidates, the nomination requirement is the support of five registered voters in the respective constituencies and wards.
“The nomination fee for presidential aspirants is US$20 000 while those intending to contest as members of Parliament will pay US$1 000. The fee for party list candidates is US$200. Please note that these fees may be payable in local currency at the prevailing bank rate,” said Mr Silaigwana.
ZEC plans to release more information about the upcoming Harmonised Elections through press statements, conferences, and stakeholder engagements.
Meanwhile, the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) has called on political parties to maintain peace during the election season. NPRC spokesperson Commissioner Obert Gutu championed the necessity of peaceful campaigns and urged all political players, supporters, and sympathisers to exercise restraint, tolerance, and avoid using provocative language.
“The election season is now in full course because we now know the election date, we now know the polling day and once again we want to say elections are a necessary constitutional exercise. But Zimbabwe will always be there for generations to come,” said Commissioner Gutu.
“We call upon political parties, their supporters, sympathisers and Zimbabweans across the political divide, those who are politically active and those who are not politically active to continue to maintain and observe peace. They also need to exercise restraint, exercise tolerance and when they campaign, they use peaceful language, language that is unifying, language that does not provoke feelings of hatred, anger and contempt,” said Commissioner Gutu.
In support of peaceful elections, local pastor and Council for Churches in Africa’s President Dr Archbishop Rocky Moyo stressed the importance of allowing citizens to exercise their right to vote without intimidation.
“Politicians need to campaign peacefully and allow people to exercise their right to vote without being intimidated. That is the crucial message that we are sending to the public. We need a peaceful election season. We don’t want to hear stories of youths being used to instigate violence during elections. We also encourage churches to continue praying for peace while preaching for peace during the election season,” said Dr Moyo.