ZANU-PF has taken an early lead in the 2018 harmonised elections set for 30 July after some of the party’s candidates successfully submitted nomination papers unopposed.
Four Zanu-PF council candidates in Matabeleland South filed their papers unopposed after opposition parties failed to field any candidates. Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) Matabeleland South provincial election officer Mr Rabson Nyoni said the four will, according to the Electoral Act, with effect from 30 July be declared duly elected councillors.
Cde Sibongile Chauke was unopposed in the Beitbridge Rural District Council Ward 13, while in Matobo North constituency Cdes Tobias Sibanda, Thomas Ncube and Paul Ncube sailed through unopposed in wards 22, 23 and 24.
“It means with effect from 30 July they will be duly elected councillors, according to the law. For now they remain just candidates,” said Mr Nyoni.
The developments come after reports in the same province indicated that Zanu-PF’s main challenger in the forthcoming elections, according to surveys, MDC Alliance failed to field a National Assembly candidate for the Insiza North National Assembly Constituency when the Nomination Court sat on Thursday last week.
In an interview Zanu-PF aspiring candidate for the constituency Cde Farai Taruvinga said he was confident that the revolutionary party will win the seat, after MDC Alliance failed to field a candidate.
“We have already begun meeting our obligations as a party. It is all evident in our work, the people are happy and thus we are confident they will make the right choice when the time to vote comes. They (MDC) fumbled a lot and couldn’t field a candidate. Their factionalism fights show that they are not united and this is why they even failed to have a candidate contesting. Even in their presence I know and I felt no threat, as I know that the people of our constituency will rally behind us. Now is the time to work and rebuild our country, together we can, divided we fall,” he said.
The MDC Alliance which is led by Mr Nelson Chamisa exhibited its disorganisation during the sitting of the Nomination Court as they also fielded more than one candidate in some constituencies and wards across the country. Mr Chamisa reportedly dribbled his Alliance partners and fielded candidates in constituencies that had been reserved for other alliance partners.
Meanwhile, preliminary figures obtained from Zec show that a record number of candidates will contest the forthcoming harmonised elections. More than 200 National Assembly candidates successfully filed their nomination papers for the 12 constituencies in Bulawayo Province, translating to an average of 18 candidates per constituency.
Zec Bulawayo provincial elections officer Mr Innocent Ncube said, while the verification process was still ongoing to come up with the final list, indications were that the figures were unprecedented. Four candidates had their papers rejected for various reasons, chief among them being failing to secure the required number of nominations.
Mr Ncube said Magwegwe and Pumula constituencies recorded the highest number of National Assembly candidates with 24, while the lowest had about 15. He attributed the high numbers to the new political dispensation where citizens have been allowed the latitude to exercise their freedom of expression.
“The figure is unprecedented this time around, we have never experienced it before. We are glad that we opened for nomination papers a bit earlier. That helped us a lot in easing the pressure because a number of candidates heeded the call to submit their papers early.”
Mr Ncube said for Local Government more than 300 candidates successfully submitted their papers for the 29 wards in Bulawayo ahead of the beckoning elections. In Matabeleland North Province, a total of 156 National Assembly candidates were successfully nominated to contest on the province’s 13 constituencies. A total of 67 candidates will contest for provincial council seats and 49 for Senate. Four National Assembly candidates had their papers rejected.
In Matabeleland South, 99 National Assembly candidates successfully filed their nomination papers across the 13 constituencies. Over 500 local Government candidates successfully filed their papers.