The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) says at least 107 political parties, including the National Patriotic Front (NPF) linked to former president Robert Mugabe, are expected to contest the forthcoming general elections.
Commissioner Qhubani Moyo told VOA Studio 7 that each party is, however, not likely to field presidential, senatorial, parliamentary and local government candidates nationwide.
“Already 107 parties have informed us that they exist and so indications are they will be participating in the general elections. We usually hold a meeting with political parties ahead of elections and they normally come in large numbers … about 80 or 90. When we checked our numbers yesterday they were 107 political parties.”
Moyo said NPF is among these political parties that will contest the polls sometime this year.
The NPF is associated with former president Robert Mugabe, Professor Jonathan Moyo, former First Lady Grace Mugabe, Saviour Kasukuwere, Patrick Zhuwao and other members of the so-called Generation 40 faction of the ruling Zanu PF party, which was ousted last November in a military-style intervention by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces in conjunction with then vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mugabe has already told the African Union and close associates that he was unconstitutionally removed from office through a military coup. He has not yet declared his allegiance to the NPF led by Retired Brigadier General Ambrose Mutinhiri.
Professor Moyo, Kasukuwere, Zhuwao and others fled the country when the army declared that it wanted to get rid of “criminal elements” surrounding Mugabe, who allegedly wanted his wife to succeed him.
Moyo noted that “we have no problem in having any party, including the NPF, in contesting the elections,” adding that, “we do not even concern ourselves with names of leaders of political parties.”
He said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s mandate is to conduct a free, credible and fair election. “… Therefore it is not our duty to block people from contesting the polls. Whether Mugabe is contesting or not it’s not our business.”
Zanu PF has already warned the former president from taking part in the polls saying ruling party activists have already chosen Mnangagwa to contest the presidential election.
Moyo also said each contesting party is not expected to contest the presidential elections “as some parties prefer only participating in parliamentary and local government elections.”
Several parties contested the 2013 general elections.