THE ruling Zanu PF wants the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to disqualify 15 parliamentary candidates of the main opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) in Bulawayo, saying they filed their nomination papers after the 4pm deadline on 21 June 2023.
Zanu PF treasurer-general and acting secretary for legal affairs Patrick Chinamasa says Zec violated the law by allowing the CCC candidates to file papers after the deadline and must disqualify them as they are ineligible to stand for election on 23 August.
Chinamasa further attacks the CCC, led by Nelson Chamisa, saying the party failed to meet the nomination deadline because it is “structureless, constitutionless and banking accountless”.
He claims Zec, which extended the nomination deadline, acted illegally by accepting opposition candidates’ papers after the set cut-off point, hence the need to disqualify them.
The main opposition CCC says it is not aware of the application.
“I am not aware of the application. I have not seen it at all. The one we know is the one we made on people who impersonated our signatures. That is the only one we know. That one, I have not seen it at all,” CCC senior elections officer Ian Makone said.
Critics say Chinamasa’s demand is ironic, considering that Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and Zanu PF-linked shadowy group, Forever Associates of Zimbabwe (Faz), has played a major role in distabilising the opposition in the just-ended nomination process.
The shadowy group planted double and sometimes triple parallel candidates to those genuinely put forward by the Chamisa-led party, in a well-orchestrated ploy to split the opposition vote.
As previously reported by The NewsHawks, Faz’s operations involved sponsoring the candidates to submit nomination papers to Zec without the approval of CCC and also forging the signatures and logo of the party.
Last week, the CCC filed a notice of appeal at the Electoral Court against the decision of the nomination court to accept parliamentary and local authority election candidates who were not on the party ticket.
The trend was rampant in Harare’s peri-urban constituencies where Zanu PF is anxious to outfox the opposition. Kudakwashe Chatambudza was the only candidate on the official CCC shortlist for Epworth South, but two names, Solomon Baramasimbe and Dydmus Bande, emerged on a Zec list, making a total of three CCC candidates vying for that constituency and the mess was engineered by Faz.
In Harare East, Allan “Rusty” Markham and Tendai Biti made it to the final CCC shortlist and Markham emerged as the preferred candidate. But shockingly, a strange individual, Malvin Razaru, appeared on the Zec list as a CCC candidate.
Joana Mamombe is the CCC candidate for Harare West, but Faz pushed through Farai Michael Padzarondora to appear alongside her as a CCC candidate.
In St Mary’s (Chitungwiza), Freddy Michael Masarirevhu of the CCC was listed (he claims without his knowledge) as another candidate after the party’s official candidate, Brighton Mazhindu.
Faz forged signatures as well as the party logo and proceeded to pay nomination fees for him.
Harare South, a peri-urban area where Zanu PF is represented by Mnangagwa’s relevative Tongai Mnangagwa, ended up having three candidates for the CCC, George Magweta, Dorothy Musonza and Trouble Hasha, after Faz interference.
While Agency Gumbo is the official candidate for the CCC in Hatcliffe, Faz added one more, Lloyd Sande, in a bid to split the opposition and harvest votes for Zanu PF.
Faz spread its operation to Hunyani constituency where Lovemore Chinoputsa, the official CCC candidate, appears on the Zec list with another individual, Terrence Khumbula, using the opposition party name.
In Harare’s Hatfield, the CCC’s Revai Nyamuronda again appeared on the Zec final list with another candidate, Admire Griza, slotted in by Faz to contest using the same party name. In Bulawayo, three constituencies have two CCC double candidates — Phelandaba Tshabalala, Entumbane Njube and Pumula. Still in Bulawayo, CCC candidates Donald Mabutho and Bekithemba Nyathi both filed papers to contest in ward 9.
In Masvingo Urban ward 4, Alec Tabe and Thokozile Muchuchuti both filed nomination papers on the CCC ticket.
Political analyst Vivid Gwede told The NewsHawks that Faz is likely to continue with its shadowy role of deploying opaque tactics to push for Zanu PF’s victory — by hook or by crook — right up to election day.