General elections scheduled for July-Aug 2023
Sikhumbuzo Moyo Bulawayo Bureau
Constitutionally, Presidential, Parliamentary and local authority elections may take place in July or August next year, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has noted and so there shall be no by-elections for vacant Parliament and local authority seats from November 1 this year.
Section 143 of the Constitution states that Parliament is elected for a five-year term which runs from the date on which the President-elect is sworn in and assumes office with the President having a similar five-year term.
Zimbabwe held its last general election on July 31 in 2018 with President Mnangagwa taking the oath of office on August 26, two days after the Constitutional Court dismissed a court challenge to presidential poll results by opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.
In a public notice yesterday, Zec chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba said constitutionally it is expected that general elections will be held on a date during July or August 2023.
She said the decision by Zec to suspend the holding of by-elections is in line with section 158 (3) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which states that polling in by-elections shall take place within 90 days of the vacancies occurring unless the vacancies occur within nine months before a general election is due to be held.
“Members of the public are thus notified that the filling of vacancies that occur on or after November 1, 2022 will be suspended pending the conduct of the 2023 general elections.”
Meanwhile, Zec has set December 3 as the date to replace six recalled councillors in Binga Rural District Council, three from Gweru Municipality as well as one from Victoria Falls Municipality.
The recalled councillors from Binga RDC are Wilson Siampolomba, Kariangwe Ward, Mathias Mudenda, Simatelele Ward, Kingson Mpofu, kalungwizi Ward, Joseph Mweembe, Sikalenge Ward, Chrispen Munkuli, Lubimbi Ward and John Sikabotu representing Siachilaba Ward.
Councillors Martin Chivoko of Ward Four, Cleopas Shiri of Ward Five and John Manyundwa of Ward Six were recalled from Gweru Municipality and in Victoria Falls the MDC-T party recalled Thuso Moyo of Ward Seven and Josepha Dzangai of Ward Eight.
Nomination courts shall sit on Thursday November 3 from 10am to 4pm at the offices of the chief executive officer for Binga Rural District Council for the purposes of receiving nominations of candidates for election as councillors for the vacant wards 6, 8, 10, 15, 20 and 23 of Binga Rural District Council, said Zec chief elections officer Mr Utoile Silaigwana in his election notice.
In Gweru nominations are during the same time at the offices of the town clerk and in Victoria Falls’ Ward 8 the nomination court sits in the office of the town clerk.
“The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission fixed Saturday December 3 as the day on which a poll shall take place if it becomes necessary in terms of Section 125 (4)(b) of the Electoral Act, said Mr Silaigwana.
While the President sets the nomination and polling dates for vacant National Assembly seats, Zec does this for local authorities and for the names submitted by the party that held the seat for the vacant party list seats in the National Assembly and Senate.