The Legal Committee of Parliament has sparked outrage among opposition MPs after it gave a green light to the controversial nomination fees for the upcoming elections.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) had set the fees for presidential and parliamentary candidates at US$20 000 and US$1 000, respectively, in Statutory Instrument (SI) 144 of 2022.
The Constitutional Court (ConCourt) had ordered Parliament to review the SI by today, following a challenge by a leader of a minor party, Devine Mhambi Hove, who argued that the fees were unconstitutional and violated the political rights of citizens.
But the Legal Committee, dominated by Zanu PF MPs, issued a non-adverse report on the SI, meaning that it found no constitutional flaws in it.
This angered the opposition MPs, mainly from the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), who accused the committee of violating parliamentary procedure and favouring Zanu PF.
They demanded that the report be tabled and debated in Parliament, saying that the public deserved to know the reasons behind the committee’s decision.
They also said that the ConCourt had abdicated its duty by referring the matter back to Parliament instead of making a definitive ruling on the constitutionality of the fees.
The nomination court will sit next Wednesday to receive candidates’ papers for the presidential, parliamentary and council polls slated for August 23.