On the 26th and 28th of January Nomination Court sat across the country for Wards and Constituencies that had leadership vacuums due to recalls that took place in the year 2020. 26 January was a day that the office of the President had proclaimed as the day Nomination Court shall sit for purposes of receiving nominations of candidates for elections in Wards and Constituencies.
A day before the first Nomination Court Sitting, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) announced the nonexistence of by-elections in Bulawayo’s Ward 3 following an urgent Chamber Application that validated that the Ward did not have a vacant seat.
Another unexpected event was the cancellation of the March 26 by-elections in the following Constituencies: Nkulumane, Mbizo, Kambuzuma, Mutasa South, Pumula, and Harare East. As a result, nomination court did not commence in the respective Constituencies, although this was only for a short-lived period.
A High Court order challenging the cancellation of the March 26 by-elections in the aforementioned Constituencies led to the re-opening of the nomination court. This was a directive that might have caught candidates by surprise as the circular was distributed later than expected.
The High Court order led to the Nomination Court that was held on Friday, 28 January 2022. Former Members of Parliament who filed papers as candidates for election for National Assembly spoke to Infocus News on the process.
Sichelesile Mahlangu, Former MP for Pumula Constituency expressed concern as women had not come out to file nomination papers.
“It is discouraging that women can not contest and this means participating as candidates can not be a lived reality,” said Mahlangu. “Women prefer not to file their papers but instead look forward to being nominated under Proportional Representation (PR).”
Kucaca Phulu, Former MP for Nkulumane Constituency cited deep concern since the court order did not enable candidates ample time to prepare to file their nomination papers.
“This appears as a political move more than anything, because you will notice that someone with a chance of contesting can no longer do so as the order was an impromptu announcement that caught many unaware,” said Phulu.
Pumula residents were elated that their Member of Parliament (MP) would be back in office as they had gone for months without a Member of Parliament after Honourable Sichelesile Mahlangu had been recalled.
Although Pumula residents cited immense confusion on the High Court order, their hopes are at seeing Sichelesile Mahlangu being re-instated at National Assembly as the Member of Parliament (MP).
Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has eight vacant positions for receiving nominations of candidates for elections as Councillors. In Bulawayo, on the day of Nomination Court, 40 candidates filed their application papers with others having done through pre-filing. Nomination papers were filed at the Bulawayo City Hall.
Lack of IDs remains a cause of concern as potential youths without IDs will not be in a position to effectively participate in the March 26 by-elections, both as candidates and voters.
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