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Ziyambi Says Election Nomination Fees Won't Be Reduced

9 months agoThu, 18 May 2023 20:54:07 GMT
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Ziyambi Says Election Nomination Fees Won't Be Reduced

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has stated that nomination fees for this year’s elections will not be reduced despite calls from the opposition.  

Opposition parties have been advised to accept the decision on high nomination fees for elections, as they were approved by a majority of MPs, who belong to the ruling Zanu PF party, which holds a two-thirds majority in the 270-member chamber with 179 MPs.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) increased nomination fees for presidential candidates from $1,000 to $20,000 per candidate, with fees for aspiring MPs from $50 up to $100. The fees have been criticised by opposition politicians who argue that they contravene the Constitution, prevent citizens from participating in the elections, and disproportionately affect youths, women, and people with disabilities.

Responding to Binga North MP Prince Dubeko Sibanda (Citizens Coalition for Change) in Parliament in relation to the high nomination fees, Minister Ziyambi said:

Statutory instruments (SIs) are passed by this august House, people here, of which the honourable member is part of people who passed those SIs. He is now asking me because of his own preferences, not the majority here, that I should do something. The answer is no.

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It is surprising that we are approaching the end of a five-year term and honourable members are asking questions after the fact.

When the SI was published, the honourable member was supposed to be on the lookout and raise those questions here and ensure that they did not see the light of day. I cannot stand here and answer questions about things that happened. They are a closed chapter.

Sibanda said the high fees contravened section 67 of the Constitution, which allowed the enjoyment of the right to participate in elections by all citizens. He said:

Those fees are generally seen by Zimbabweans to be prohibitive.

Sibanda argued that the high nomination fees were not conducive to a multi-party democracy since they were unaffordable for youths, women, and people with disabilities.

He questioned the government’s policy to ensure that all citizens could exercise their right to participate in elections, as every citizen has the right to do so.

Sibanda urged the minister to clarify whether the government would proceed with the current prohibitive fees or amend them to enable citizens to enjoy their constitutional rights. He added that elections by their nature should not be costly.

ZEC and the government defended the increased nomination fees last year, stating that they aimed to filter out non-serious political candidates. If the fees remain unchanged, the number of candidates for the presidential race, which exceeded 20 in 2018, could decrease considerably.

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