By Lulu Brenda Harris
A TOTAL of 23 candidates successfully filed their interest to run for Zimbabwe’s presidency in the July 30 elections, as confirmed by the country’s nomination court.
Of the 23, only three aspirants are women.
This is a first for Zimbabwe, which usually had been dominated by more or less five candidates, all men, in previous elections since 1980.
The July 30 elections will not feature two notable individuals, Robert Mugabe, the former president who was deposed of in a coup d’etat last year after he had ruled the Southern African country for 37 years and his main rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, who succumbed to cancer of the colon early this year.
Despite a long list of presidential candidates to choose from, analysts say the main challenge lies between Zanu PF’s Emmerson Mnangagwa and MDC Alliance’s Nelson Chamisa, both men who took over from Mugabe and Tsvangirai, respectively.
Before the nomination court sat, more than 120 political parties had registered with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) wanting to participate in this year’s elections.
Although candidates have successfully filed their nomination papers, a major concern is the availability of the final voters’ roll with ZEC only availing a provisional copy.
With 23 presidential candidates and more than 100 political parties contesting, Zimbabweans can only imagine what the ballot paper will look like.
The electorate also has a duty of discerning which candidates are sincere in their promise to bring positive change, govern properly and create influential policies.
It is now up to the registered voters to make cautious choices about who they elect into office because lately, Zimbabwean politics has become highly commercialised, characterised by greed and violence.
Following two decades of the country’s pronounced regression in every front, whoever takes over power would have their work cut out.
A comatose economy, political polarisation, social degradation, corruption and deep-rooted tribalism are some of the ills that any new dispensation in Zimbabwe would need to urgently address.
Despite considered a key figure in allegations of political violence, voter intimidation and Zanu (PF) rigging, President Mnangagwa has promised that Zimbabwe would be run differently this time round.
Only July 30, 2018 and beyond will tell.
The full list of the presidential candidates who were duly nominated, in alphabetic order:
Joseph Busha of FreeZim Congress
Messrs Nelson Chamisa of MDC Alliance
Messrs Johannes Chiguvare of People’s Progressive Party
Chikanga Everisto Washington of Rebuild Zimbabwe
Dzapasi Melbah of #1980 Freedom Movement Zimbabwe
Gava Mapfumo Peter of United Democratic Front
Hlabangana Kwanele of Republicans Party of Zimbabwe
Hove Mhambi Divine of National Alliance of Patriotic and Democratic Republicans.
Kasiyamhuru Blessing of Zimbabwe Partnership for Prosperity
Khupe Thokozani of Movement for Democratic Change –T
Madhuku Lovemore of National Constitutional Aassembly
Mangoma Elton Steers of Coalition of Democrats
Manyika Noah Ngoni of Build Zimbabwe Alliance
Mariyacha Violet of United Democratic Movement
Mngngagwa Emmerson Dambudzo of Zimbabwe African National Union –Patriotic Front
Moyo Nkosana Donald of Alliance for the Peoples Agenda
Mteki Bryan Taurai an Independent
Mugadza William Tawonezvi of Bethel Christian Party
Mujuru Jouce Teurai Ropa of People’s Rainbow Coalition
Munyanduri Tendai Peter of New Patriotic Front
Mutinhriri Ambrose of National Patriotic Front
Shumba Daniel of United Democratic Alliance
Wilson Harry Peter of Democratic Opposition Party