The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has been criticised for hiking candidate nomination fees for next year’s elections.
On Friday, ZEC issued statutory instrument 144 of 2022, which amended S1 153 of 2014.
In the SI, ZEC said the cost of fielding a presidential candidate was now US$20 000 up from US$1 000, US$1 000 from US$50 and $200 for senators and councillors from US$100.
A human rights lawyer, Obey Shava, told The Standard that they were representing citizens, who were preparing to file a court challenge against the new fees. He said:
I confirm that there are a few people whose political rights have been infringed by the SI.
The fees are too prohibitive and deny them their rights to exercise the right to vote, participate and stand for elections.
Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) chief elections officer Ian Makone said the party is opposed to the new fees as they limit opportunities for people’s choices and participation.
MDC-T president Douglas Mwonzora’s spokesperson Lloyd Damba said the fees were an assault on democracy.
ZAPU spokesperson Mso Ndlovu said the new fees increase is an attempt to ensure that those that cannot afford do not participate.
Former MDC Chairman and speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo, who is the leader of the United Movement for Devolution, said:
It is clear that there’s an element of collusion with (President Emmerson) Mnangagwa’s regime to restrict electoral contestation in order to facilitate election rigging.
It is ludicrous to expect political parties to fork out over US$500 000 for them to fully participate in the electoral processes.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition spokesperson Obert Masaraure said citizens should unite and resist the new fees. He said:
The ruling elites who have been looting state resources should not be allowed to reduce elections into an elite affair.
The working class and the peasants, who are the worst affected should unite and fight back, demanding an inclusive electoral process.
ZEC spokesperson Jasper Mangwana on Saturday requested written questions when asked for a comment.