By Staff Reporter
Seven Civic Society Organizations (CSOs) have submitted a petition to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), urging an immediate revision of the exorbitant candidate nomination fees.
As per the existing regulations, presidential candidates are required to pay a staggering US$20,000, payable in cash or at the prevailing official rate equivalent. Candidates running for Parliament must pay US$1,000, while Proportional Representation party lists for Parliament and Provincial Councils are expected to pay US$100.
In their petition, the CSOs demand an urgent downward revision of the candidate nomination fees to the rates utilized during the 2018 General Elections.
“We demand that, for the 2023 General Elections, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) urgently effect a downward revision of the candidate nomination fees to the rates that were used during the 2018 General Elections, that is US$1000.00 for the President and US$50.00 for the Constituent Members of Parliament.
“We demand that, going forwards, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the responsible Minister of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs must, in consultation with citizens, and stakeholders, ensure that any set amounts are affordable, gender, youth, and disability sensitive. We demand that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) must engage Parliament of Zimbabwe and the responsible government line ministries to ensure that adequate funds are appropriated to the Commission, in a way that totally removes or ensures that prospective candidates pay a minimal affordable fee,” said the CSOs.
The CSOs argue that the current fees, established under Statutory Instrument 144 of 2022, pose a significant barrier to political participation, particularly for marginalized groups in society.
“At the moment, the social and economic conditions that young people, women and persons with disabilities find themselves in, despite their desire to participate in public office leadership, make the exorbitant candidate nomination fees a systemic impediment that can result in low levels of representation. The current levels of unemployment, as well as the bulging of the informal economy, have meant that a large proportion of youth and women are excluded from accessing liquidity, particularly in the form of foreign currency,” petitioned the CSOs.
The petition was jointly signed by prominent CSOs, including WELEAD Trust, Magamba Network, Institute for Young Women’s Development (IYWD), Youth Decide Zimbabwe, Junior Court Club, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association, and Accountability Lab Zimbabwe.