Election lobby group, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has called on the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to consider reviewing nomination fees for aspiring candidates.
Under Statutory Instrument 144 of 2022, aspiring Presidential contestants are now required to pay US$20 000, (US$1,000.00); Members of Parliament US$1,000 (from US$50.00) while Senate and local authorities US$100.
In a statement, ZESN said the fees had a bearing on participatory democracy especially special interests groups.
“ZESN is cognisant of the dictates of Section 192 of the Electoral Act Chapter 2:13 which stipulates that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission can make regulations it deems necessary, with the approval of the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
“However, the steep increase in nomination fees has a bearing on participatory democracy in particular, electoral participation especially for Special Interests Groups such as women, youths and people with disabilities. While accreditation fees for domestic/citizen observers remain on USD10.00, over the years ZESN has been advocating for a waiver on domestic observers to support election observation by ordinary citizens,” ZESN said.
The network said election observation is the foundation of democracy therefore there is need for a waiver on accreditation of local observers.
“ZESN notes that election observation is the bedrock of democracy and is key in assessing whether the electoral process was conducted in accordance with the laws of the country; to assess whether the country’s electoral framework conforms to international/regional principles, norms, standards, and best practices.
“Provides an impartial and accurate appraisal of the electoral environment; provides recommendations for improving electoral processes; promotes confidence in electoral processes; fosters respect for the outcomes of genuine democratic elections and promotes of openness and transparency among others. ZESN therefore calls on the Ministry of Justice, Parliamentary and Legal Affairs to waiver accreditation fees for domestic observers to enhance the transparency in elections in Zimbabwe,” said the network.