23 October 2012

Zimbabwe: Parties Hail New Rule On Election Candidates

Political parties have lauded the new rule compelling candidates for all national polls to submit authorisation letters from their parties to file nomination papers.

They said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission rule would help stamp out the fielding of several candidates for a political party in a constituency.

This would also bring normalcy in the administration of national elections.

The new regulations are contained in the amended Electoral Act.

According to the rules, all aspiring parliamentarians seeking to be elected into office on party ticket are required to bring a certificate of authorisation from secretaries general of their parties.

Independent candidates would be spared from this requirement.

In an interview last week, Zanu-PF national spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo, said the move would streamline people representing particular parties and help in dealing with confusion caused by candidates that declined to accept defeat in primaries.

"This is a welcome development. It eliminates a system where two people from the same party would claim to represent it in one constituency," he said.

Cde Gumbo urged candidates defeated in primaries to work with their winning counterparts to ensure the party's victory.

He said those who decided to stand as independents would automatically "fire themselves from Zanu-PF".

"There will be no imposition of candidates and the people should be allowed to vote for candidates they want. We expect co-operation from the losers," said Cde Gumbo.

MDC-T spokesperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora said the new regulations were a solution to double candidates in constituencies.

"Some people lose during primaries and proceed to stand either as independents or claiming to represent the same party," he said.

"There is no way the secretary general can allow two candidates to stand for one seat. There will be order in the process this time.

"The people should know that once you subject yourself to a democratic process, you must be prepared to accept the results."

MDC deputy spokesperson Mr Kurauone Chihwayi said the move was welcome and his party was going to fully co-operate with the electoral body's requirements.

"The law that governs elections in Zimbabwe was agreed upon by the three political parties in the inclusive Government," he said.

"We do not have problems with ZEC if they operate within the confines of the Electoral Act. We are willing to certify all our candidates and those without our endorsement should be turned away."

ZEC acting chairperson Ms Joyce Kazembe said last week that the new rule was a prerequisite for all aspiring legislators who represent political parties.

According to part X11, Section 46 (2) of the Electoral Act: "Where a nomination paper specifies the matters referred to in paragraph (c) of subsection (1), the nomination paper shall be countersigned by an office-bearer of the political party concerned with authority to certify that the candidate is to stand for or be sponsored by that political party."

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