Harare Man Declares Himself Presidential Candidate

Ignatius Masamba placed an advertisement in the state-owned Herald newspaper asking Zimbabweans to vote for him whenever the country’s next elections are held.

“Hello Zimbabweans. When you vote for President, do you vote for the name of the person or the name of the party?” asked Masamba in the newspaper advertisement accompanied by his picture.

“Do the correct thing. Be a step ahead voter: the wise one. Look for the qualification of the candidate. Because doctors understand diseases. Accountants understand the economy, the facts/figures and strategy. I am an accountant: our standards are integrity, transparency, expertise and avoiding the unethical. I declare that I shall be an independent Presidential Candidate in the next election, other factors remaining equal.”

The date of the country’s next elections remains unknown. A Southern African Development Community (SADC) facilitated roadmap towards elections is the determining factor as to when elections will be held. However the country’s political parties are still to agree on the necessary timelines and benchmarks for an election.

The regional SADC body directed the country’s political parties to agree to a new constitution, implement the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and create a conducive environment before elections can be held.
Masamba is the latest in a growing list of figures now considered as political fodder.

The publication of the advertisement comes as a surprise given that the newspaper refuses to carry  advertisements from anyone regarded as President Robert Mugabe’s opponent.

For instance in 2009 the Herald Newspaper refused to to publish a communiqué drafted by civil society organisations announcing the establishment of a Civil Society Monitoring Mechanism (CSMM) on the implementation of the Interparty Political Agreement (IPA) between Zanu (PF) and the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

The advertising executive informed the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) that the Editor was not in office and would inform ZLHR once he has made his decision to publish the advertisment. However, when the executive called later, he informed the ZLHR that the editor wanted two paragraphs removed from the communiqué for it to be carried in The Herald.

The ZLHR then refused to advertise the amended communiqué as it omitted some vital information.

Again in 2009, the same newspaper shunned a 12-page MDC supplement.

The supplement was a congratulatory advertisment on the appointment of MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai as the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.

In 2008 an unknown Victoria Falls school teacher and businessman, Langton Towungana, the youngest ever electoral candidate in the history of the country, declared himself an independent presidential candidate. He tipped himself to win the elections and said he was prepared to work with anyone after winning as long as they are not criminals.

Towungana however got 0.6 percent of the vote at the end.

African National Party’s (ANP) Egypt Dzinemunhenzva is also among the politicians who emerge towards election time. He has perennially been contesting elections from his Murewha base where he runs his one man party.