Election Watch 19-2018 - Nomination of Candidates 1

ELECTION WATCH 19/2018

3rd June 2018

Nomination of Candidates 1

Nomination Day is on the 14th June 2018

This bulletin deals with the nomination of candidates for:

  • the Presidential election
  • the elections for the 210 constituency seats in the National Assembly constituency elections
  • the local authority council elections.

All these positions are elected directly by registered voters voting on Monday 30th July.

Note:  there are different nomination procedures for candidates for:

  • proportional representation seats for women in the National Assembly
  • the 60 proportional representation seats for the Senate
  • the 18 Senator Chiefs
  • the two Senate seats representing persons with disabilities, and
  • candidates contesting the elected seats on metropolitan and provincial councils

These will be dealt with in a separate bulletin.

Qualifications for Election

Presidential candidates [Constitution [link], section 91]

A candidate must be:

·        a Zimbabwean citizen by birth or descent

·        at least 40 years of age

·        ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe

·        registered as a voter.

The only disqualification stated in the Constitution is having already held office as President under the 2013 Constitution for two terms.  [This disqualification will be irrelevant in this election.]

Parliamentary candidates [Constitution, section 125]

A candidate must be:

  • registered as a voter
  • at least 21 years of age.

Disqualifications:  people who are detained under the Mental Health Act  [lunacy is not a disqualification per se, one has to be locked up before one is disqualified] or who have been declared by a court to be incapable of managing their affairs are disqualified from standing for election [Constitution, section 125(2)(a)].  So are people who have previously vacated their parliamentary seats through having been convicted of a serious offence involving breach of trust, violence or dishonesty [Constitution, section 125(2)(b)].

Public officers: members of the Defence Forces, the Civil Service and other holders of public office, as well as members and employees of statutory bodies, government-controlled companies and entities, provincial or metropolitan councils and local authorities may stand for election; but if they are elected they will have to relinquish their office within 30 days, failing which they will automatically lose their seats [Constitution, section 129(1)(h)].

Chiefs and other traditional leaders are prohibited from being members of political parties or participating in partisan politics [Constitution, section 281].  They are also prohibited from standing for election for President, Parliament or a local authority council by section 45 of the Traditional Leaders Act.

Local authority council candidates [Electoral Act [link], section 119(1)]

A candidate must be:

·        a citizen of Zimbabwe

·        at least 21 years of age

·        enrolled on the voters roll for the council area concerned

There are a number of disqualifications spelled out in section 119(2) of the Electoral Act, including:

·        being an unrehabilitated insolvent,

·        being in default for longer than 120 days with payment of the local authority’s rates, charges and taxes,

·        having a conviction for an offence involving dishonesty, and

·        being an employee of the local authority or of the State. 

Note – there are other exclusions, and would-be local authority candidates should study the list in the Electoral Act, section 119(2).

Civil servants may stand for election as a councillor but only if the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry concerned, with the concurrence of the Civil Service Commission, has certified in the prescribed form that, if elected, the candidate’s duties as a councillor would not conflict with his or her  duties as a civil servant [form VN6 must be used for this purpose and must be signed by both the Secretary of the Ministry concerned and a representative of the Civil Service Commission].

Nomination Process

1.   Candidates must ensure they are nominated by registered voters:

  • for the Presidential election – at least ten voters registered in each of the ten provinces, at least 100 nominators in all  [section 104(1)(a) of the Electoral Act]
  • for the constituency seats – at least five voters registered on the voters roll for the constituency for which the candidate is standing [section 46(1)(a) of the Electoral Act]
  • for local authority seats – at least five registered voters on the voters roll for the ward for which the candidate is standing [section 125(1)(a) of the Electoral Act]

2. The nomination form must be completed in full:

There are three different forms:

  • for the Presidential election, the form is set out in the Ninth Schedule to the Electoral Act.
  • for the National Assembly constituency elections, the form is also set out in the Ninth Schedule to the Electoral Act
  • for local authority council elections, the form is set out in the First Schedule to the Electoral (Nomination of Candidates) Regulations, 2014 (SI 153 of 2014).

The forms may be obtained from any ZEC office or downloaded from the ZEC website: Presidential [link]; National Assembly constituency [link]; local authority council [link].

The forms in all three elections must be:

  • signed by all the registered voters backing the candidate [the nominators]
  • countersigned by:
  • the candidate himself/herself [for Presidential candidates]
  • the candidate or his/her chief election agent [if the candidate is standing for a political party, it must also be countersigned by “two designated office bearers of the party concerned – the procedure for designating office-bearers of political parties is set out in section 38A of the Electoral Act]
  • the candidate or his/her authorised agent, in the case of local authority elections.

3. The completed nomination form must be lodged with the appropriate electoral official:

(a)  When:

For all elections, nomination papers can be lodged at any time before nomination day(14th June) with the following officials:

  • Presidential election:  with the Chief Elections Officer [The Electoral Act does not specify this, but it can be inferred from section 105 of the Act]
  • Parliamentary elections:  with the constituency registrar [Electoral Act, section 46(3)]
  • Local authority elections:  with ZEC [Electoral Act, section 125(2)] Note:  ZEC should specify places as obviously all candidates can’t lodge at ZEC’s main office – the Electoral Act does not specify.

On nomination day (14th June) nomination papers must be lodged at the appropriate nomination courts which open at 10 a.m. and closes at 4 p.m. [though persons already in court at 4 p.m. will be allowed to lodge their papers after that time]

(b)  Where:

Nomination courts will be held on 14th June at the following places:

  • Presidential election:  at court A in the High Court building, Samora Machel Ave, Harare.
  • Parliamentary and local authority elections:  at the places listed in the Election Proclamation [link]

(c)  Accompanying papers:

For all elections, candidates must submit with their nomination forms:

  • a passport-sized photograph of themselves
  • two copies of the electoral code of conduct set out in the Fourth Schedule to the Electoral Act;  the candidate or his/her chief election agent must sign and print his/her name at the bottom of each page of these copies [section 46(1)(e) of the Electoral Act].

(d)  Nomination fees:

The following nomination fees must be paid by or on behalf of candidates when their nomination forms are lodged:

  • Presidential candidates:  $1 000, payable in cash or by bank-certified cheque [section 3 of the Electoral Nomination of Candidates) Regulations, 2014 (SI 153/2014)]
  • Parliamentary candidates:  $50, payable in cash [section 3 of the Electoral Nomination of Candidates Regulations, 2014 (SI 153/2014)]
  • Local authority candidates:  Probably $50, payable in cash [No fee is specified for these candidates, but according to section 133 of the Electoral Act provisions relating to parliamentary elections apply to them unless otherwise stated – again ZEC should publish confirmation of this.

 

The Electoral Act, incorporating all the latest amendments, can be accessed at the Veritas website [link].  So too can the Constitution, incorporating the amendments made to it in 2017 [link].

 

Note:  the Electoral Act on ZEC website has not been updated since 2014.

 

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