The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) says it does not regulate or register political parties and will accept candidate nominations for March’s by-elections on a “first come, first served” basis.
MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora earlier this month wrote to ZEC announcing himself as the leader of the MDC Alliance, the party led by Nelson Chamisa.
ZEC chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba on Monday shed light on the expected confusion when the nomination court sits on January 26. She told ZimLive:
ZEC does not adjudicate who has the right to the name of a political party because there is no legal framework that mandates the commission to regulate, deregulate and register political parties.
On January 26 the nomination court will operate on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. ZEC will not respond to letters for clout from political parties over party names.
If politicians want to stop a political party from using a party name or symbol, they must approach the electoral court which determines political parties.
MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere on Monday maintained that their party would remain MDC Alliance, at least for now, as pressure mounts from supporters for Chamisa to rebrand. she told ZimLive:
We remain MDC Alliance until otherwise advised. We have safeguards in place to ensure there is no confusion come election day. The people know who their leaders are.
Chigumba said politicians were in the habit of blaming ZEC over political name disputes when the commission does not register political parties but only recognises them as prescribed by the electoral law.
Elections will take place in 28 parliamentary races and 105 municipal seats on March 26.
Most of the seats fell vacant when the MDC-T recalled elected MDC Alliance officials, armed with a March 2020 Supreme Court ruling which nullified Chamisa’s elevation to lead the MDC-T following the death of Morgan Tsvangirai a year earlier.