The issue of double candidature is a ‘loud and screaming’ problem that has become a political blemish in Zimbabwe’s politics, as political bigwigs based in Harare impose their preferred candidates to create a system of patronage, Professor Jonathan Moyo has said.
Imposition of candidates has been seen in the opposition of late and was particularly pronounced in 2018, especially in the parliamentary election where many constituencies were lost by the then MDC Alliance to the ruling Zanu PF.
Despite MDC Alliance rebranding to become the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), the scourge of double candidature occurred when the party fielded double candidates in Wards 9 and 26 of Bulawayo although one of the candidates later dropped out.
“The imposition is not just from outside the province, it is from Harare and the fact that it did not go down well with the people of Bulawayo is something we should as a body politic, not just for CCC only but be everyone’s business, because it is about the state of the nation,” said Prof Moyo in an interview with CITE.
Prof Moyo even suggested that the time has come for legislation to be made against the imposition of candidates.
“Candidates should be nominated by registered voters in the ward where they want to stand, you can’t have someone from another ward nominating a candidate. That logic should run through the nomination process such that those who countersign know it and if the idea is that those who countersign must somehow deal with certain processes within their political parties, which require some approvals let those processes take place before nomination day,” he said.
The political scientist indicated the problem of double candidature is not unique to CCC but is endemic to political practices in Zimbabwe.
“So we must ask, ‘why does it happen?’ We don’t need the services of a rocket scientist to understand that it happens precisely in order to enable some chefs in Harare to impose their candidates,” he said.
“It often, if not invariably, is done by some people in Harare who are eyeing higher positions and want to make sure they have individuals in local structures who will do their bidding when the time comes so they build systems of patronage.”
Those imposed candidates are to run around for bigwigs, looking for potential deals available in local authorities for land and procurement contracts.
“Its not something that is done for fun’, it is part of the deep-seated culture of patronage, ‘you scratch my back, I scratch yours’ that’s why it’s a problem,” said Prof Moyo.
Double candidature has exposed the problems that exist in the CCC, as the party was divided on who should have signed the nomination forms for candidates.
One of the double candidates – Mpumelelo Moyo had his papers signed by CCC’s Vice President, Professor Welshman Ncube in Bulawayo while other candidates’ papers were sent to Harare to be signed there by Job Sikhala.
Party insiders said it was part of the party’s constitution that nomination papers are signed by the National Elections Directorate chaired by Thabitha Khumalo and her deputy -Sikhala.
However, the furore afterwards saw Prof Ncube expressing his disgruntlement on twitter.
Prof Moyo who retweeted Prof Ncube’s tweet said “clearly there is notable disappointment” in the way the party was handling the matter.
“Prof Ncube is one of the three VPs in the new party, so he speaks from experience. If someone of his stature puts a statement like that tweet it should cause right thinking people who are fair minded, a moment to reflect. It might be too strong to say it means there is a problem but clearly there is notable disappointment, that accompanies a process of change where the old becomes the new,” Prof Moyo said.
“Allow the community to choose. These are people who give consent on who will govern and represent them that must be taken seriously.”
Prof Moyo said imposition of candidates is also a Zanu PF problem as it was present there too.
“Zanu created this and these other parties are children, we see the opposition having more excesses than Zanu. But it’s a Zanu problem inextricably intertwined with patronage in the party,” he said.
The political scientist said politicians must realise that “all politics is loco” meaning locals are the ones who drive politics.
“Nobody has a national address, every one of us has an address, a street or a village somewhere, because of that principle the best politics is local that is why progressive countries empower local communities. Livelihoods are developed at the local level,” he explained.
“This is why local communities must decide who shall represent in councils and constituencies. If you disconnect that you create a network of patronage. By imposing you alienate the local community. That is why compatriots whom we support in CCC might not understand the outrage the community in Bulawayo has.”
Prof Moyo reiterated that since a local community is the centre of the politics, a party could lose relevance if someone sitting in Harare imposes a councillor for locals.
“You lose control and become irrelevant. Political parties who tend to do that are punished when it comes to the presidential election,” he said.