sa, the spokesman of the main wing of the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai, said nomination court officials had last week demanded at the last minute that their candidates produce letters from village headmen and chiefs to confirm that they lived in their areas.
A large majority of traditional chiefs and village headmen are sympathetic to the ruling ZANU PF party and the government, which provide them with salaries and other perks, such as electricity for their homesteads.
For example, in Shamva in Mashonaland Central, a Zanu (PF) stronghold, village headmen had refused to grant the letters to MDC candidates resulting in several candidates failing to meet the nomination court deadline. “The party has already written to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) raising serious reservations over these glaring irregularities,” said Chamisa. Chamisa also claimed that in some cases opposition candidates had been disqualified “because nomination court officials insisted that their passport-size photographs (which are mandatory for those contesting the polls) were not clear.”
Officials from ZEC were not immediately available for comment on the matter.
A rival faction of the MDC led by prominent academic, Arthur Mutambara, however succeeded in fielding 294 candidates mostly in rural Matabeleland North and South provinces. The party won two seats uncontested in Nkayi and Mangwe districts.
But in the Midlands district of Zhombe, five candidates from the Mutambara-led MDC were also disqualified in seven of the contested wards while another four candidates were disqualified in the ruling party stronghold of Mhondoro and Mberengwa district.
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, the deputy secretary general of the Mutambara-led MDC, could not be reached for comment on the matter last night. The MDC has in the past accused the ZEC, which was appointed by President Robert Mugabe last year, of lacking sufficient bite to make independent decisions. A number of electoral challenges filed by the MDC after controversial parliamentary elections last year were all ruled in Zanu (PF)’s favour raising
doubts over its independence in the face of glaring electoral discrepancies. – ZimOnline
HARARE - At least 330 candidates from both factions of Zimbabwe's splintered opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party have been disqualified from next month's rural district council polls after they failed to produce clearance letters from village headmen in their areas.