HARARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s chief elections agent and outgoing Justice minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi, has scoffed at claims the US$20,000 nomination fee set for presidential candidates is too high.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) set the princely figure last year August, courting uproar from aspirants, civil society and political analysts who felt it shut out a considerable section of Zimbabwe’s poor population.
However, speaking to journalists after confirming Mnangagwa’s nomination at the High Court in Harare on Wednesday, Ziyambi said those saying ZEC erred were not serious considering responsibilities that were to follow for August’s winner.
He further dismissed claims by Labour Economists and African Democrats (LEAD) president Linda Masarira’s claim that US$20,000 shut out women from competing for Zimbabwe’s top government post.
“If you want to be entrusted with the affairs of a country and you cry over US$20,000, surely you are not serious. Rights and responsibilities go hand in hand,” said Ziyambi.
“Our opinion is that if you want to be given such an important responsibility you might fail the nation. US$20,000 is not a lot, those who manage to pay it prove that they would be able to govern without stealing.
“I do not know what those saying women have been shut out of politics mean considering strides covered by Zimbabwe in uplifting them within this field.
“Honestly if you have no resources and seek such responsibilities will you be able to manage it?” said Ziyambi.
The High Court has already dismissed two cases seeking a downward review of the fees, including the US$1,000 tag for aspiring legislators.
Masarira spent the greater part of Wednesday trying to raise the US$20,000 required by ZEC.
By 3pm, she had managed to pay ZW$138 million converted at government’s interbank rate and was still short of ZW$28 million.
Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) president, Nelson Chamisa said the US$20,000 fee was scandalous.
“It is a scandal that ZEC will get almost US£600,000 from candidates. You cannot ask candidates to pay for providing public service,” said Chamisa after confirming his name at the nomination court in Harare.
“It is illegal, it is criminal but these are all tactics to make sure they stop us but grace is abundant, the race is ours and no matter what they try to do God is in it.”
The CCC spokesperson, Fadzayi Mahere, remarked: “Democracy is not for sale!”
Similar sentiments were aired by National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) leader, Lovemore Madhuku, upon arrival at the High Court to confirm his nomination.
Zimbabwe heads for elections on 23 August with Mnangagwa and Chamisa considered the front runners.