MDC welcomes candidates nomination fees, blasts opportunists
Kwekwe (New Ziana) – Opposition MDC president Douglas Mwonzora has welcomed the increase in the nomination fees for candidates to contest in the 2023 harmonized elections as the new fees will screen out opportunists who are on a “fundraising initiative”.
According to the Statutory Instrument 144/2022 gazetted on Friday, Presidential candidates for the 2023 elections have to pay US$20 000, up from US$1 000 paid in 2018, while those seeking to contest for parliamentary seats will each part with US$1 000, up from US$50.
Those seeking to take part in next senatorial and council elections will have to fork out US$100 each.
In an interview, Mwonzora said the new nomination fees will reduce the number of presidential candidates on the ballot paper as opposed to 2018 presidential election which had 23 candidates.
“It is a good idea that the nomination fees be raised for candidates. I heard other people complaining that the fees will affect the poor candidates, yes, as a candidate the money is not supposed to come from your pocket but it should come from your party,” said Mwonzora.
He added: “In Zimbabwe, others think that if they become a candidate, it’s an opportunity of making money, so it’s a fundraising initiative. The increase in nomination fees for one to be a candidate is a way of screening candidates.”
He said a serious presidential candidate with sound support can easily raise the required amount if each party member contributes US$1 towards the nomination fee.
“If you cannot raise the money, it shows that you are worsting other candidates’ time,” said the MDC leader.
Raising of the nomination fees, he said, can help solve the problem of a blotted presidential ballot paper as witnessed in the 2018 general elections.
“Our ballot paper has to be small. In 2018 elections it had 23 presidential candidates, which is a bit problematic. In Kenya they dealt with the problem by forming coalitions. Azimiyo of Odinga’s had about 20 parties. Another one Kwanza Kenya had coalitions. This makes the ballot paper not to be expensive,” said Mwonzora.
He said it was practically impossible to contest in the presidential elections if an aspiring candidate does not have more than 20 000 supporters in a country with a population of 15 million people.
Political parties that do not receive any funding under government’s Political Parties Finance Act could find it tough to sponsor candidates for the 2023 harmonized elections.