a calculated assault on democracy in Zimbabwe.
With about 1600 wards to be contested in the country‘s rural council elections in August this year, a political party contesting all the seats will have to fork out a phenomenal $3.2 billion just to have its candidates cleared by the police! This amount excludes the stationery, transport costs to police stations and other related indirect expenses, which would bring the whole amount to more than $7billion for candidates to be cleared only!
This is outrageous and unacceptable in any democratic society. It is clear that only a party with access to state coffers like Zanu (PF) is the only one, which can afford such exorbitant sums of money. We find this criminal and abominable in the worst sense. We fail to relate the cost of clearance, which simply involves the police checking by computer whether a person has any criminal record or not, to the charge of $2million. We still find it completely unacceptable to impose such a condition, when elections to higher offices such as the House of Assembly and the Senate do not have such a requirement.
Every citizen knows whether he/she qualifies or not and unless found otherwise, that requirement is unnecessary and must be abolished immediately. This is a clear deprivation of the citizens’ rights to participate in democratic processes by making democracy unduly expensive for only the rich to afford.
Clearly it is Zanu (PF)’s strategy to tilt democratic playing field in its favour. This confirms our fears that they are afraid of free and fair elections because they have lost the support of Zimbabweans, hence their desire to impose restrictions making it hard for anyone to put up a fight.
It is strange that at the time when the whole world is fighting to ensure that everyone, rich or poor accesses and enjoys enhanced democratic values, the Mugabe government is moving in the opposite direction.
PAUL THEMBA NYATHI, MDC (Mutambara) Director of Elections
EDITOR - MDC is dismayed and extremely shocked by the government's continued manipulation of the electoral system. The recently introduced requirement where candidates intending to contest the forthcoming rural council elections must pay a clearance fee of $2 000 000.00 ($2 million) to the police is