LEGAL experts have dismissed the possibility of a June 29 election, saying several supporting mechanisms with fixed timelines have to be taken into account before an election date is proclaimed.
REPORT BY EVERSON MUSHAVA/DUMISANI SIBANDA
Research and Advocacy Unity (RAU) researcher Derek Matyszak said a 30-day mandatory voter registration period is required from the day the new Constitution is published, while 56 days would be needed from the day the election date is proclaimed to the polling date.
He said another two week period was required for the nomination court to approve candidates from the day of the proclamation of the dates for polls and an additional 42 days had to be allowed for nomination of candidates.
“It is impossible to hold elections before June 29,” Matyszak said. “There is still the four months the Executive should remain in office to organise elections. So an election date can be announced any time 56 days before October 29 when the four months given to the Executive by the law expire.”
He said it was not unusual for a country to run without Parliament.
“In 2008, we went for five months without Parliament,” Matyszak said. “It does not mean we should have elections the date the Parliament is dissolved.”
President Robert Mugabe has insisted that elections should be held at the end of next month, but the two MDC formations maintain that polls can only be held after the implementation of key reforms.
“There are some supporting mechanisms that have to be in place, issues to do with voter registration, the period itself for campaigning and other things the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has to do before the elections,” law professor Greg Linington said.
“The date itself will have to be decided not unilaterally by the President. Following the expiry of the term of Parliament on June 29, there will be four months within which to hold the elections.”
Zec is also supposed to have a month-long voter registration exercise once the new Constitution is signed into law.
Matyszak, however, said the voter registration and inspection could be done concurrently with other processes in the 56 days given at law from proclamation of dates to the date of polls.