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Mugabe can’t call for early polls’

News
LEGISLATIVE watchdog, Veritas has said President Robert Mugabe no longer has the power to proclaim an early election, but is guided by specific timelines and guidelines provided for in the Constitution.

LEGISLATIVE watchdog, Veritas has said President Robert Mugabe no longer has the power to proclaim an early election, but is guided by specific timelines and guidelines provided for in the Constitution.

BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU

President Robert Mugabe
President Robert Mugabe

“The President no longer has the discretion he previously enjoyed to force an early election on the country by dissolving Parliament,” the watchdog said in its latest bulletin.

“That may have been the case under the former Constitution, but it is clearly not possible under the present Constitution.”

Veritas said only Parliament may force an early election by either refusing to pass an annual Appropriation Bill, like the budget or by passing resolutions in both the Senate and the National Assembly to dissolve the Houses, for which a two-thirds majority are required.

Early this month, Zanu PF secretary for administration, Ignatius Chombo claimed Mugabe could call for an election anytime, but Veritas disputes this.

Parliament’s five-year term started on August 23, 2013, when Mugabe was sworn in as President, suggesting that the next elections can only be held between July 23 and August 21 next year.

Polling days, Veritas said, must, therefore, fall within the 30-day period, when Parliament’s term expires.

Veritas argued that, according, to the Constitution, Mugabe can legally proclaim general election dates between April 30 and July 8, 2018, with the nomination date åfalling between May 21 and July 22, 2018.