SOME individuals say they were baffled when they “found” themselves on the list of election candidates who successfully filed nomination papers for National Assembly seats as they did not personally submit the forms that led to double and triple candidature for the opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) in many constituencies across the country.
The CCC had double and triple candidates in 15 constituencies in Harare, three in Bulawayo, one in Masvingo and one in Marondera.
The NewsHawks got in touch with a candidate whose name is appearing on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) form but not on the CCC party list for Hunyani constituency, Terrence Khumbula, who says the first time he saw his name as a candidate was when the names of double candidates were called out at the Harare Magistrates’ Court.
“I did submit nomination forms at the nomination court because the party said they were going to submit the forms on behalf of successful candidates. So, my assumption is that none of the candidates that submitted their particulars to the party after vetting knew if they had succeeded or not,” he said.
Khumbula added that the last time he submitted forms was between 19 and 20 June at the party office before seeing his name on the list of candidates who had submitted forms to the nomination court at the Harare magistrates’ court.
“The party requested that we submit our particulars as is requested at the nomination court but successful candidates would only know after the nomination court had sat,” he added. Another candidate who was not on the party’s final list but on the list of people that filed nomination papers in St Mary’s, Freddy Masarirevhu, confirmed that he did not submit his papers to the nomination court.
“Just for the record, I do not have anything to do with Faz and neither did I submit papers to them. I submitted my papers to the party only as directed. Let’s avoid putting our party into disrepute by speculations and let’s also avoid blaming each other and other institutions,” he tweeted.
Critics poked holes into the candidate selection process for taking too long and for being too secretive for anyone to understand.
The party held its first step of candidate selection on 5 April 2023, where they said party members were supposed to nominate their MP and councillor of choice and for 77 days the process was ongoing without a substantive list of successful candidates who would represent the party in the 23 August polls.
The party’s election directorate allegedly called successful candidates on the morning of the day that the nomination court sat in Harare and directed them to meet certain people at nomination centres across the country.
The party has however implicated Faz, a CIO-run organisation aimed at helping Mnangagwa win the upcoming elections, as the pivot of all this chaos.
Addressing the Press in Harare on 22 June 2023, party spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said the ruling party failed to compromise the signatories and ended up forging signatures to create the double candidature crisis.
“We cannot go into the election on the basis of lies. We simply won’t tolerate that. We worked so hard to ensure that this precise double candidate thing doesn’t happen and the only thing that Zanu PF could come up with was to forge our papers. In the old days they would try and infiltrate, they would pay our signatories, but now, they have resorted to forgery because they could not get to the signatories because they did not have that information because it was closely guarded,” said Mahere.
Prior to the Press briefing, deputy spokesperson Gift Siziba had released a statement pointing at Faz and Zec as the culprits behind the confusion.
“The Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) led by Advocate Nelson Chamisa is currently under fire, as it has been accused of putting double council and parliamentary candidates in the nomination court process which was conducted on Wednesday. However, an investigation conducted by our team revealed that the notorious Zanu PF outfit, Forever Associates of Zimbabwe (Faz), created these fake double candidates to confuse the CCC electorate in the upcoming elections. This revelation has uncovered fraudulent activities and highlighted the collusion between Faz and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec),” read the statement.
Contacted for comment, Zec’s chief elections officer Utloile Silaigwana referred The NewsHawks to the head of public relations, Justin Manyau, who instructed that we put our questions in writing, but is yet to respond.
Meanwhile, the party said it will lodge its complaint with the commission as well as the police for the fraudulent acts of forgery and will also engage candidates to withdraw their candidature.
On Thursday, Masvingo ward 2 council candidate Frank Chirairo, who had filed his name for Masvingo Urban ward 2 under the CCC for the 23 August elections and was subsequently reported for fraud and forgery by Jefreyson Chitando, agreed to withdraw his candidature.
Chitando, who is the CCC Masvingo provincial chief elections officer, has also withdrawn the police fraud case.