The Electoral Court has rubberstamped a Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) ban on 87 MDC-T parliamentary candidates whose nomination papers were rejected by the poll management authority June this year following payment glitches on electronic bank transactions.
This means the party will contest the August 23 election with just 24 candidates from an electable 270 seats which are up for grabs.
In a statement Tuesday, MDC-T director of information and publicity, Chengetai Guta accused ZEC and government of a partisanship and “gross violations of political rights”.
Said the party, “Yesterday (Monday), the electoral court dismissed the appeal by the MDC’s 87 parliamentary candidates against their disqualification by ZEC.
“The court completely avoided looking into the merits of the case.”
MDC-T said its candidates successfully went through the preliminary vetting exercise but could not be registered after the nomination court that sat June 21 “made it impossible for the MDC to pay citing bank challenges”.
MDC-T chronicled its painstaking attempt to ensure payment went through, adding that the party’s efforts were frustrated by ZEC.
“There is no doubt that this was an act of vindictiveness, partiality and partisanship on the part of the election management body,” Guta said.
“It constitutes gross violations of political rights as enshrined in section 67 of the Constitution.
“The elections slated for 23rd of August 2023 are now but a complete farce and are characterised by mass exclusion of other contestants.
“Further, they are being held under a delimitation report that is completely illegal and was condemned by parliament.
“The MDC is now only left with 24 candidates contesting in constituencies besides proportional representation.
“Our participation in this election is clearly under serious protest. The ZEC and government have constricted democratic space in Zimbabwe.”
MDC-T is arguably the country’s biggest opposition by parliamentary representation currently.
However, in terms of discernible popular support on the ground and by pundit estimation, Nelson Chamisa’s CCC has risen to become the party with the most realistic chance to upstage the ruling Zanu PF party in the upcoming poll.
Coupled with mass defections that have visited an opposition once fronted by late iconic political firebrand and ex-prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the failure to field in a lot of constituencies creates a real risk of the party petering out into oblivion.