NATIONAL Constitution Assembly (NCA) leader Lovemore Madhuku yesterday said his party was engaging the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) over proposed fees for presidential and legislative hopefuls in Zimbabwe’s 2023 elections.

This comes as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) announced last week that presidential hopefuls would be required to pay US$20 000 while MPs will part with US$1 000 as nomination fees.

Addressing the media in Harare yesterday, Madhuku described the fees as unconstitutional, undemocratic and ridiculous.“We will engage within Polad to have some collective position.

“We still believe that the Polad platform provides us with an opportunity to have these things solved. We believe that we can actually have a ballot book for presidential candidates even if one is on page 300 so that any Zimbabwean who wants to be a presidential candidate can participate.

“The only thing we should discuss is that we increase the number of people to nominate an aspiring candidate and it was not given by Zec as any option,” said Madhuku.

The constitutional law expert accused the authorities of trying to block some aspiring candidates from participating in 2023 elections.

“The whole requirement of money is not meant to support the election and the purpose is not to raise money for the upcoming election but to take us out but we are going to engage in Polad.

“If that platform fails, of course we go to the courts. We seek to persuade our courts that the Statutory Instrument and the amounts charged by Zec are unconstitutional, excessive, exorbitant, and irrational and go outside the spirit of multi-party democracy.

“The court route is the second option after we exhaust the political route and the political players in and outside Polad are agreeing that the fees are ridiculous and we need to persuade them that this is not the business of Zec and let’s get Zec out, it’s political.”

He also added that the move was meant to restrict the democratic space to two dominant political parties.

  “The ruling Zanu PF party expenses are going to be funded by just two corrupt business people in the country. Our dominant colleagues in the opposition are going to be funded by friends from all over the world but for the rest of us we do not agree on the perception that for us to enjoy our rights as citizens we have to get the approval of other citizens and this is what Zec is doing and it’s undemocratic.

“It’s unconstitutional, as section 67 of the constitution is very clear about the right to enjoy political rights and those rights must not be restricted unreasonably by the requirements so we believe that what Zec has done goes outside of the constitution parameters”.

This comes as the authorities insisted at the weekend that there was nothing amiss about the proposed high fees that presidential and legislative hopefuls will be charged to take part in the crunch 2023 national elections, saying “democracy comes at a cost”. – Daily News