A total of 75 political parties have registered to contest this year’s elections though it is not clear what most of them really want, according to a United Kingdom-based political watchdog, Zimbabwe Vigil.
At the last count the Research and Advocacy Unit said Zimbabwe had more than 50 political parties, three of which were led by women.
Zimbabwe is due to hold its elections in the next six months or so.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa who assumed office on 24 November is completing former president Robert Mugabe’s term which ends on 21 August.
He has promised free, fair, credible and transparent elections so that Zimbabwe “can move forward peacefully, politically and economically”.
He also urged parties to deist from violence adding: “Let us never allow our political discourse turn poisonous”.
Zimbabwe Vigil said unless Mnangagwa makes a convincing attempt to level the playing field he will not satisfy his critics.
“No fewer than 75 political parties have apparently registered to contest the upcoming elections, though it’s not clear what most of them really want,” it said.
“Mnangagwa has promised that the elections will be free and fair but unless he makes some convincing attempt to level the electoral playing field and agrees to allow in objective observers to monitor the polling he will not satisfy critics and get the Western financial support he needs to fund the promised economic turnaround.”
It is not clear why there are so many political parties since opposition parties have agreed to form coalitions to contest the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and not divide the vote.
So far two coalitions, the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance led by Morgan Tsvangirai, and the People’s Rainbow Coalition led by Joice Mujuru, exist but they do not seem to have ironed out their problems.
Right now there is a wrangle between MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora and his boss, Tsvangirai, with Mwonzora saying the party will field candidates for all seats while Tsvangirai says coalition partners were allocated constituencies so that their candidates do no contest each other.