Chamisa, Biti close ranks
OPPOSITION Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa says he will work with his deputy Tendai Biti, who lost in the party selection process, adding that the legislator is earmarked for a pivotal role in the campaign for the August 23 elections.
Biti will, for the first time in 20 years, not be contesting in the general elections after he was beaten by Allan Markham for the Harare East constituency, but Chamisa said he had secured a “big” post for him in the upcoming CCC government.
Yesterday, Biti appeared at the High Court in solidarity with Chamisa to confirm the latter’s nomination as the presidential candidate for the party.
The development allayed fears that Biti would contest as an independent and scuttle Chamisa’s chances of winning the election.
“You can see that I came with my colleagues, Advocate (Thabani) Mpofu, head of the legal team, and our brother Honourable Tendai Biti, who is also an advocate who is also going to play a pivotal role in this big march to a new Zimbabwe,” Chamisa said.
“We are a presidential republic. Our campaign is going to be basically presidential. Our focus is not to be in Parliament but in government. We have been in Parliament for a long time. That is not our station at the moment. Our station of choice is government. You will see Mr Biti in government. He is going to play a pivotal role in the campaign that we are going to launch very soon, because he is part of that government. Parliament is going to be there, that is what we are offering to government but there are others who are beyond Parliament and they must play that role.”
Five political parties — Zanu PF, CCC, MDC-T, Coalition for Peace and Development and National Constitutional Assembly successfully filed papers for presidency, while former Zanu PF commissar Saviour Kasukuwere filed as an independent.
Chamisa also called on President Emmerson Mnangagwa to hand over power to him or endure the humiliation of losing in the general elections set for August 23.
He made the remarks at a Press conference after verifying his nomination papers at the High Court.
“I am not so sure if Mr (Emmerson) Mnangagwa has come (to the High Court), he is a courageous man, I do not know why he is willing to even stand in this election because he has no reason to,” Chamisa said.
“Decency must teach him that he must just hand over to the next government.”
His sentiments came in the backdrop of his party’s apparent chaotic conduct at some nomination courts across the country.
Reports indicated that there were double nominations in constituencies such as Marondera Central, Goromonzi South, Masvingo and Ruwa.
But Chamisa said this was caused by rogue party members who stole nomination papers after being ordered not to stand as candidates.
“There were certain individuals in Masvingo yesterday (Tuesday) who stole some papers and forged signatures, so it is not a case of double candidacy but fraud and some fraudulent activities,” Chamisa explained.
“It is a criminal thing that has been reported to the police. We do not foresee any problem of double candidates because we only have two signatures and they cannot have double candidates, so that is not a problem that we are anticipating.”
Chamisa added that they had submitted credentials of candidates vying for seats in all constituencies and councils.
In Mashonaland West, candidates from Zanu PF, CCC and several independent candidates filed their papers at the nomination courts sitting in various centres across the province.
At the main nomination court at the Chinhoyi Magistrates Courts, the candidates submitted their papers before the 4pm deadline yesterday.
However, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) elections officer Austin Ndlovu was forced to extend the filing deadline after an overwhelming number of prospective candidates thronged the court later in the day.
There was also double filing of papers by Zanu PF and CCC candidates reported across the province while some disgruntled members filed their papers as independent candidates.
Incumbent CCC legislator for Chinhoyi constituency Peter Mataruse reportedly filed his papers as an independent candidate after being snubbed by the party leadership yesterday morning.
Lesley Mhangwa emerged the preferred candidate for CCC in the constituency and will face Matarutse while Zanu PF candidate Thomas Chidzomba successfully filed his papers.
Reports of clashes among prospective candidates were also reported in the districts.
Meanwhile, Norton MP Temba Mliswa (Independent) yesterday predicted that the forthcoming elections would see many independent candidates finding their way into the August House.
“That would also be important for the necessary alternative voice that is lacking in our Parliament. If we had a similar setup of divergent voices, we could have avoided such undemocratic legislations as the PVOs Bill and the Patriot Bill,” he said.
Some aspiring legislators and senators in Mashonaland Central province raised concern over the slow and demanding process they endured at the provincial nomination court in Bindura.
In separate interviews with NewsDay, the candidates accused Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) officials of taking too long to register their candidature in addition to demanding original copies of their documents — a requirement they said they were not aware of.
The candidates also raised concern over the high nomination fees saying they frustrated some candidates from submitting their papers. Some of the casualties were Labour, Economists and African Democrats president Linda Masarira and Democratic Union of Zimbabwe leader Robert Chapman who could not raise the US$20 000 required for presidential candidates. Chapman is now contesting for the Chinhoyi Central seat, with his party members saying they would support Chamisa’s candidature.
“It (the nomination fee) is absurd (and) just a way of discriminating against the poor from participating in elections in the country, violating their constitutional rights and that is a cause for concern which I will continue fighting with like-minded people even after the nomination process,” Masarira said.
Douglas Mwonzora of the MDC-T also weighed in saying it was difficult to raise the US$20 000 nomination fee. In addition to his candidature, the party will field a total of 210 parliamentary candidates.
In another development, EFFZ leader Innocent Ndibali Sibanda pulled out of the presidential race to rally behind Mnangagwa “in the spirit of Pan-Africanism”.