Mad rat race for presidential poll. . . as dozens take on ED, Chamisa next month 

Source: Mad rat race for presidential poll. . . as dozens take on ED, Chamisa next month – DailyNews Live

STAFF WRITERS      15 June 2018

HARARE – MDC Alliance boss Nelson Chamisa, has suffered a major blow in
his bid to form a winning, all-embracing grand coalition after other
opposition leaders filed their papers at the Nomination Court yesterday to
contest the youthful politician and President Emmerson Mnangagwa in next
month’s eagerly-anticipated presidential election.

At the same time, history was made, as for the first time in
post-independent Zimbabwe there will be female presidential candidates –
three of them – taking on their male counterparts for the right to occupy
the most powerful political office in the country in the July 30

With the MDC Alliance’s endeavours to narrow the list of competitors in
the presidential race now dead in the water, the poll will be heavily
congested – with about 20 hopefuls having put their hat in the ring for
the right to lead Zimbabwe when the Daily News went to print last night.

Former vice president Joice Mujuru, as well as the leader of the splinter
MDC faction Thokozani Khupe and the little-known Violet Mariyacha joined
Mnangagwa, Chamisa and at least 14 other presidential hopefuls on the
ballot paper.

Mujuru, who is the leader of the National People’s Party and the Rainbow
Alliance, had been expected to join the MDC Alliance at the last minute
together with Khupe – whose running feud with Chamisa had appeared to have
ended until the revelations that he was in talks with the National
Patriotic Front (NPF), a party backed by former president Robert Mugabe
and his much-disliked wife Grace.

Many Zimbabweans, including political analysts, civic society leaders and
student movement heads, had consistently said the country’s opposition
stood a better chance of finally ending Zanu PF’s dominance of local
politics by fielding a single candidate against Mnangagwa in next month’s
crucial polls.

The political analysts who spoke to the Daily News last night said the MDC
Alliance was likely to rue its failure to put aside its differences with
other opposition leaders, particularly Mujuru and Khupe.

“It’s a tragedy for democratic change in Zimbabwe that we have so many
presidential candidates. The real battle is between Chamisa and Mnangagwa
and those who will help to decide this race are Mujuru and Khupe, and
perhaps (Nkosana) Moyo.

“They are likely to play the same role as that played by Simba Makoni
against (the late opposition leader Morgan) Tsvangirai in 2008. It’s sad.

“You can’t thus talk of an effective grand coalition when Khupe’s outfit
is out. She arguably has better numbers than some principals in the MDC
Alliance who are bringing only their single vote to the Alliance. It’s a
real tragedy.

“With Mnangagwa’s administration said to have started rigging the poll,
the opposition has also now rigged itself out by its failure to swallow
their pride and coalesce.

“Divisions in the opposition, in addition to Zanu PF’s alleged rigging,
will be one significant factor leading not only to their loss but
inability to mobilise against a stolen vote post poll,” political analyst
Maxwell Saungweme said.

International Crisis Group senior consultant Pier Pigou also told the
Daily News that Mujuru and Khupe had the potential of splitting votes in
the presidential race.

“Their candidacy will take some of the opposition vote … the critical
question now is how much and whether their combined support will assist
Mnangagwa over the finishing line in the first round … Chamisa needs all
the support he can get.

“Given there are no prospects of either Mujuru or Khupe winning this
election, one must ask what they hope to achieve in the circumstances. It
is, however, disturbing that neither of the main candidates have
significant diversity amongst their candidate pool,” Pigou said.

Apart from the female trio, Mnangagwa and Chamisa’s rivals will include
Zimbabwe Partnership for Prosperity (ZIPP) leader Blessing Kasiyamhuru,
Noah Manyika from Build Zimbabwe Alliance, United Democratic Alliance
(UDA) leader Daniel Shumba, Mariyacha of the United Democracy Movement,
Elton Mangoma and artist Bryn Mteki, who will stand as an independent.

The others are Progressive and Innovative Party of Zimbabwe (PIPZ) leader
Tendai Munyanduri, Langton Toungana,  Evaristo Chikanga (Rebuilding
Zimbabwe Party), Divine Hove (Nationalistic Alliance of Patriotic &
Democratic Zimbabweans), Peter Gava (United Democratic Front), Lovemore
Madhuku (National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), Timothy Chiguvare
People’s Progressive Party of Zimbabwe (PPPZ), Maxwell Shumba (ZimPF) and
Nkosana Moyo of the Alliance for the People’s Agenda.

All the presidential candidates had to pay $1 000 each, as per the
dictates of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

After submitting his nomination papers, former Zanu PF MP and Masvingo
chairperson, Daniel Shumba, dismissed any prospects of him participating
in a grand opposition coalition – confirming that he would field
candidates in as many constituencies as possible, while also ambitiously
declaring himself as the country’s next president.

“No doubt I will be going to State House after July 30, but we have
approached the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission expressing concern at the
intimidation of our candidates.

“In Masvingo, our candidates were receiving threatening calls from either
Zanu PF or State Security agents. Our people were even afraid to come to
the Nomination Court,” Shumba said.

Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, who submitted papers on behalf of
Mnangagwa, said Zimbabwe had opened up its democratic space, which had
allowed many people to participate in the elections.

MDC’s chief election agent, Jameson Timba, told journalists earlier that
he had no doubt that Chamisa was going to win the forthcoming elections.

“From the list that has been successfully nominated, I see none other than
Nelson Chamisa being the next president of Zimbabwe,” a confident Timba

Mteki, a singer and sculptor, incredulously told journalists soon after
filing his papers that he was not going to campaign until the voting day.

“I am not going to campaign or do anything after this process. I am simply
going to chill at home until the voting day,” he said, adding that if
voted into power, he would use his “influence” to bring development to

Mariyacha said she had high chances of winning the elections and become
the country’s first female president.

Meanwhile, there was tension at the magistrates’ courts, where the lower
courts were receiving nominations for aspiring MPs and councillors.

This saw police coming out in full force to snuff out trouble among
disgruntled aspiring MPs and councillors, who had either been disqualified
or controversially barred from participating in the Zanu PF and MDC
primary elections.

In the capital, the Harare Magistrates’ Court was a hive of activity as
candidates and supporters from the main political parties swamped the
usually quiet complex.

Most of the aspiring legislators arrived there with bodyguards, with
controversial deputy Finance minister Terrence Mukupe arriving with at
least eight heavies.

The Daily News also heard yesterday that while the Ambrose Mutinhiri-led
NPF was fielding as many candidates as possible across the country, the
party had now joined the MDC Alliance – where it got five constituencies.

NPF secretary-general Shadreck Mashayamombe duly filed his papers under
this arrangement and will be the MDC Alliance candidate for Harare South.

Next month’s national elections have generated a lot of interest among
both ordinary Zimbabweans and ambitious politicians alike, with many
people anticipating a close contest between Zanu PF and the MDC Alliance,
as well as between Mnangagwa and Chamisa.

The polls themselves will be the first in the past two decades not to
feature Mugabe and the late MDC founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai who lost
his valiant battle with cancer of the colon in February.