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Zimbabwe: government increases fees to run for political offices

Zimbabwe's parliament   -  
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Zimbabwe's parliament has approved a staggering increase in the fees to be paid by future presidential candidates, from 1,000 to 20,000 US dollars, a decision deemed discriminatory by the opposition on Thursday.

"These candidacy fees, which discriminate against citizens according to their economic status and exclude the poor and those on the margins, violate the Constitution," Fadzayi Mahere, spokesperson for the main opposition party, the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), told AFP on Thursday.

Presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for August 23 in this southern African country.

Incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa, 80, is accused of muzzling all dissenting voices. He succeeded Robert Mugabe in 2017, and was elected president the following year (50.8%) following a violent election. He will face CCC leader Nelson Chamisa, a 45-year-old lawyer and pastor.

Candidates in the parliamentary and senatorial elections will have to pay $1,000, compared with just $50 in 2018.

Opposition parties claim that the sharp rise in the price of the ticket to run in these various elections favors the ruling ZANU-PF party, which they believe has more financial resources at its disposal.

On June 1, Zimbabwe had already adopted a so-called "patriotic" law criminalizing any "attack on sovereignty and national interest": a "terrible" and vague text, according to the opposition and NGOs, who fear liberticidal excesses ahead of the general elections.

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