Mnangagwa Plots To Ambush Chamisa
4 February 2023
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 By- The Zanu PF-led government may dissolve Parliament and call an early election, a legal think tank Veritas has predicted.

Zimbabwe is supposed to hold general elections between July 27 and August 26 2023 but this may not stop the government from calling for early polls, reported NewsDay.

The government is reportedly fast-tracking passage of the delimitation report as well as election-related legislation in Parliament and this is seen as part of a wider plot to call an early election that will find the opposition unprepared.

Veritas, in its latest weekly Election Watch report, said:

There are straws in the wind which may point to an early election. Government may be trying to get important Bills through Parliament quickly so that Parliament can close for an early election.

Some of the Bills could be seen as strengthening the ruling party’s grip on society in advance of an election: the PVOs [Private Voluntary Organisations] Amendment Bill and the ‘Patriot Bill’, for example.

To say there have been problems with delimitation is putting it mildly.

The preliminary delimitation report that was presented to the President on December 26 was deeply flawed, as we pointed out in our Election Watches 1/2023 and 2/2023 and as Parliament pointed out in its report to the President.

No one seems to like the report, except perhaps the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and her deputy.

Some of the outstanding Bills that are before Parliament include the Judicial Laws Amendment Bill, National Security Council Bill, Prisons and Correctional Services Bill, Child Justice Bill, Police Amendment Bill and the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Bill. Veritas said:

As we explained in our earlier Election Watches, delimitation must be completed at least six months before polling day in an election if it is to be used for that election (section 161(2) of the Constitution) and — unless Parliament is dissolved early — the next general election must be held between July 28 and August 26 this year.

So if this delimitation report is to be used in the mid-year election, it must have been published between January 28 (for an election held on July 28) and February 26 (for an election on August 26).

The report is already too late for a July election, and the deadline for an August election is fast approaching and probably cannot be met.

… If a final delimitation report cannot be produced in time, and existing electoral boundaries remain in place, an early election will be easier to arrange because it will not be necessary to reorganise and relocate polling stations, constituency centres and so on.

On Friday, 03 February, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairperson Priscilla Chigumba was at State House to deliver to President Emmerson Mnangagwa the draft of the final report on the delimitation of constituency and ward boundaries which takes note of concerns that he and Parliament raised.

Chigumba said the draft report, which the President will now go through, could be gazetted in the next 14 days.