PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe intends to announce new election dates after May 8 as he forges ahead with plans to hold the polls by June 29, it was revealed yesterday.
Report by Feluna Nleya
Mugabe made the indication in an urgent chamber application filed at the High Court last Friday seeking an order to be excused from complying with an earlier court order to gazette dates for by-elections in three constituencies in Matabeleland by March 31.
Last year, the Supreme Court ordered the veteran ruler to proclaim by-election dates for the three constituencies — Nkayi South, Bulilima East and Lupane East.
The constituencies fell vacant
after MDC legislators Abednico Bhebhe (Nkayi South), Njabuliso Mguni (Bulilima) and Norman Mpofu (Lupane East) were expelled for allegedly working in cahoots with the MDC-T.
Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, in a founding affidavit filed on behalf of Mugabe at the High Court, said it did not make economic sense to hold the by-elections about the same time harmonised polls were expected.
He said Mugabe wanted the courts to allow him to delay the polls on condition that he “ensures that harmonised elections are held by 29 June 2013”.
Chinamasa said the timetable was dictated by the constitution-making process that he expected to be concluded by Parliament in the first two weeks of May.
“It is anticipated that this stage of the process will be completed by the 8th of May 2013 and a proclamation for harmonised elections will be published immediately thereafter,” reads part of Chinamasa’s affidavit.
“In terms of the Constitution, the life of Parliament terminates on the 29th of June 2013, by which date harmonised elections must be held in the country.
“It is for the above reasons that the applicant seeks this honourable court’s indulgence to be excused from performance of the order requiring applicant to publish a proclamation of by-elections in the three constituencies by 31st March 2013, on condition that applicant ensures that harmonised elections are held by 29 June 2013.”
He said holding by-elections in the three constituencies on the eve of the general elections would strain the economy.
“Given the above, it does not make economic or practical sense to conduct a parallel process leading to the holding of by-elections about the time it is anticipated to hold harmonised elections,” Chinamasa added.
“Compliance with the order to publish a proclamation for the holding of by-elections in the three constituencies is no longer feasible as a general election is now imminent.”