ED To Proclaim Election Dates
10 November 2021

By A Correspondent- President Mnangagwa will proclaim the dates for by-elections for the National Assembly and local authorities to fill vacancies left following the expulsion and death of some members, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has said.

There are 28 National Assembly and 105 local authority vacancies across the country.

The Government had suspended the holding of by-elections as part of a set of measures to curtail the spread of the highly contagious Covid-19 disease.

However, ZEC, the constitutional body mandated with running elections in the country, has come up with a roadmap towards the holding of the elections.

According to the draft electoral road map, ZEC has set April 23, 2022 as the proposed date for elections.

“The commission works with provisional dates as the actual dates can only be proclaimed by the President,” ZEC said in a statement.

Some media organisations had reported that the country will be going to polls based on the ZEC roadmap.

However, the by-elections, the commission said, could be proclaimed earlier or later than the set provisional dates.

“The provisional dates are merely for planning and procurement of election material. The nation should be guided accordingly,” reads the draft electoral road map.

Ahead of next year’s delimitation process, ZEC has set aside more than 900 voter registration units.

The delimitation process, which will see the country divided into constituencies and wards for the purpose of elections legislators and councillors respectively is part of the electoral cycle and is carried out periodically in terms of section 160 and 161 of the Constitution.

“ZEC periodically assesses its state of preparedness for all constitutionally mandated electoral processes.

“The Commission is guided by the laws of Zimbabwe not by discussions with any stakeholders. The law can be changed in Parliament by those who are unhappy with its application,’’ said ZEC.

Parliament has expelled more than 20 MPs from both MDC-T and Zanu PF after their parties wrote to the House saying they were no longer representing them.

The recall of the MPs is a culmination of 21 MPs belonging to the opposition MDC-T party, recalled to date following a leadership wrangle.

The recalling of MDC-T MPs followed a Supreme Court ruling conferring legitimacy to Douglas Mwonzora as the leader of the party.

Zanu PF recalled Chivi South MP Cde Killer Zivhu, while at least 21 from both the National Assembly and Senate were ejected by the MDC-T.

The proclamation of provisional dates for by-elections comes as a massive blow to MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora who had begged President Mnangagwa to consider scrapping pending by-elections when the two met under controversial circumstances at State House on June 11.

Mnangagwa met Mwonzora while in the company of Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga.

The MDC-T leader revealed after the meeting, described by his lieutenants as secretive, that he had tabled a set of “damands” to the Zanu PF leaders, but flatly refused to disclose them, saying he was waiting for the president’s written response.

This publication, however, obtained a copy of the four-page document Mwonzora gave Mnangangwa. The suspension of by-elections, which if done, would give Mwonzora an edge over Nelson Chamisa’s MDC Alliance in the fight for recognition as the main opposition party in Zimbabwe.

The MDC-T leader justified the proposal to suspend by-elections, saying it would give Zimbabweans time to “find each other”.

“While Zimbabweans are talking and finding each other in this serious manner it seems unnecessary to introduce something divisive as by-elections,” he said in the statement.

“It is, therefore , suggested that while discussions are going on regarding aforementioned issues, by-elections be suspended.

“In order to avoid prejudice to the electorate, it is suggested that an arrangement be made for parties to make replacements of vacancies in their areas of control as guided by law.”

Following a controversial Supreme Court ruling last year, MDC-T has recalled dozens of MDC Alliance legislators and councillors amid accusations that it is aiding Mnangagwa’s ambitions to create a one-party state.

Mwonzora denies allegations that he is a Zanu PF puppet, but he has indicated his eagerness to work with the ruling party while pushing out Chamisa’s group.

In his submissions to Mnangagwa, he also proposed a new dialogue platform between MDC-T and Zanu PF to be known as the Parliamentary Dialogue Forum (PDF).

He said PDF would be made up of five Zanu PF legislators, five MDC-T legislators and two chiefs. The platform would have Zanu PF and MDC-T principals while excluding MDC Alliance.

According to the document, the PDF would have its own secretariat where Zanu PF and the MDC-T will second officials that would be on a full salary.

“The two political parties to select two salaried and specific coordinators each, who sit in the PDF,” reads the document.

Mwonzora assured Mnangagwa that there would be no further talk of the 2018 general elections as that was water under the bridge as concluded by the Constitutional Court.

“The Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe made a definitive judgement, which in the party’s view settled the legitimacy question. To the MDC-T party the legitimacy is a settled issue,” he wrote.