Concern over opposition politicians prevented in running for elections

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum is concerned with widespread allegations by opposition party (MDC) candidates in the upcoming Urban Council Elections (scheduled for 30/31 August 2003) that they have been victimised, assaulted and barred from entering the Nomination Courts by ZANU PF supporters.

Preventing a candidate from being duly nominated through coercive means is significant as according to the Urban Councils Act, an uncontested nominee wins the poll, regardless of whether an opposing candidate has been prevented from filing nomination papers due to political intimidation and / or physical violence.

In the month of July, the Human Rights Forum documented claims MDC candidates were being barred from the Nomination Court, while ZANU PF candidates were reportedly being allowed unlimited access, such that most MDC candidates failed to hand in their forms. In Makoni District (Manicaland Province), Chegutu (Mashonaland West), Bindura (Mashonaland Central), and Hurungwe West (Mashonaland West), several candidates from the towns claim that they were victimised and prevented from presenting their papers to the Nomination Courts sitting in their areas, hence several ZANU PF candidates won the seats as uncontested candidates.

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