ZEC stops Gutu West election after death of retired soldier candidate
By Simbarashe Mtembo | Masvingo Mirror |
MASVINGO – Voters in Gutu West will not be able to cast votes for their favourite parliamentary candidates on August 23, 2023, following the death of one of the candidates a fortnight ago.
Independent candidate Christopher Mutonhori Rwodzi (53) for Gutu West died in a car crash died barely a week after successfully filing his nomination papers.
He was set to contest the incumbent Member of Parliament and Zanu PF national youth league deputy secretary John Paradza and Citizen Coalition for Change (CCC) Ephraim Murudu.
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Masvingo Provincial Elections Officer Zex Pudurai told The Mirror that under Section 50 of the Electoral Act, should a candidate die, the nomination process is declared void.
Pudurai said according to the Act, if a nomination officer is satisfied that a nominated candidate for election in that constituency dies, the election proceedings will be stopped and the Chief Elections Officer notified forthwith.
The President is expected to announce a date for the by-election soon after the general election and new aspiring candidates can also file their nomination papers. Those who had already filed their nomination papers do not need to file new applications.
A similar incident once occurred in 1985 after the late Zanu PF candidate for then Kariba Constituency, Robson Manyika succumbed to heart failure on June 24, 1985, a few days before the July 1-2, 1985 general election.
Zanu PF later seconded Enos Nkala who was announced winner after PF ZAPU candidate Kenneth Mano withdrew his nomination. A by-election would have been held after the election had Mano not withdrawn his nomination.
Mutonhori died on June 29, 2023, when his Toyota Prado Landcruiser VX plunged some 18 metres into a dry riverbed on the 10km peg at Honeyspot along the Harare Highway.
Section 50 of the Electoral Act reads
Death of candidate
“(1) If—(a) the Chief Elections Officer is satisfied that a duly nominated candidate for election for a constituency died before the poll commenced or, if the poll has commenced, before the close thereof; or (b) the proceedings relating to an election for a constituency have been stopped in terms of subsection (2); the Chief Elections Officer shall, so far as concerns that constituency, declare that all proceedings relating to that election are void and all proceedings relating to that election shall be commenced afresh in the same manner as if a vacancy had occurred:
“Provided that no fresh nomination shall be necessary in the case of a candidate who was duly nominated at the time when the proceedings were declared void if such candidate or his or her chief election agent notifies the constituency elections officer in writing of his or her intention to remain a candidate,” reads the act.