24 prties for 2013 poll

HARARE - Voters will be spoilt for choice  in next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections, with more than 20 political parties expressing interest even as the date is yet to be announced.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) confirmed at least two dozen political parties had approached the body ahead of polls expected to be held no later than June next year.

President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Zanu PF and MDC parties have dominated the political landscape since the turn of the decade and the situation is unlikely to change although the smaller parties are certain to split votes.

In 2008, Zanu PF and the MDC had to battle it out with Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube’s smaller MDC formation and former Finance minister Simba Makoni’s Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD).

A resurrected Zapu led by former Zanu PF politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa and an MDC led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara complete the list of the parties that are presently visible.

However, Mugabe and Tsvangirai, the two frontrunners since 2000 will have to contend with the likes of Anslem Karimupfumbi who leads Rusununguko People’s Party (RPP).

Utoile Silaigwana, Zec’s deputy chief elections officer, said although there is no law on registration of political parties in the country, the commission currently has 24 parties on its records.

Zec is the body responsible for conducting elections and recently invited political parties to a meeting on elections that was attended by a host of newcomers.

“The problem is that we do not register political parties, they just come and tell us that they want to contest and we take notice of them. There are about 24 political parties that we have in our records,” said Silaigwana.

Under the country’s laws, a special Nomination Court is set up just before elections where candidates of political parties would submit their names for elections.

Currently only parties which have seats in Parliament benefit from the political parties (Finance) Act (Chapter 2:04).

Egypt Dzinemunhenzva, a cryptic politician, who normally surfaces from his rural base in Wedza and leads the African National Party (ANP) says he is going to win the elections if they are conducted under democratic conditions that can sustain a free and fair election.

Paul Siwela, Nesbert Mtengedzanwa and Reketai Semwayo — leaders of the Matabeleland Liberation Front, the rebranded African National Congress and Zanu Ndonga respectively are also some of the parties ready to slug it out with the so-called political heavyweights.

Maverick politician Job Sikhala, who leads MDC99 and controversial businessman Raymond Chamba who is an independent politician as well as Democratic Party leader Wurayayi Zembe are the other candidates.

Kisinoti Mukwazhe leads the Zimbabwe Development Party (ZDP) and is upbeat that he will form the next government.

“This is a real political change season, we would like to build unity and achieve reconciliation things that Zanu PF and the MDC formations have failed to achieve.

“We would like to ensure that Zimbabwe will never be a poor nation as is the case now,” said Mukwazhe.
Mukwazhe says both Tsvangirai and Mugabe have failed to deliver to the nation and is buoyant he will be elected president come election time.

Political analysts say the new parties are however, no threat to the two leading parties, who face their greatest challenge from parties which enjoy regional support such as Zapu and Ncube’s MDC.

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