THIS year’s general elections are likely to be held between July 23 and August 21, legal think-tank, Veritas has said.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
In its latest election update released at the weekend, Veritas said although President Emmerson Mnangagwa had the prerogative to proclaim the election dates, he remains guided by the Constitution, particularly the Electoral Act.
“The proclamation calling an election must not be less than 44 days and not more than 84 days before the polling day chosen,” Veritas said.
“This means that for a July 23 election, the earliest date for proclamation is April 30 (84 days before polling day, and the latest is June 9, 44 days before polling.”
Veritas added that if elections were to be held on August 21, then the earliest date for proclamation would be May 29, which is 84 days before elections, and the latest day would be July 8, which is 44 days before elections.
And if elections were to be held on any other date between July 23 and August 21, then Mnangagwa should allow for 44 days between proclamation and polling day.
“In normal circumstances, the earliest date for polling is July 23 and the last date for polling is August 21. The polling date is determined by what the Constitution says about the duration of Parliament. The maximum five-year term of the current Parliament ends at midnight on August 21, 2018,” Veritas said.
The legal think-tank added that the Constitution no longer allowed the President to dissolve Parliament at will, allowing Parliament to serve its full five-year term. But if Parliament were to dissolve itself by a two-thirds majority vote of the National Assembly and Senate sitting separately, then elections would be held within 90 days of the resolution to dissolve Parliament.
“So, in theory, if this route were to be taken, the next general election could be earlier than July 23. If Parliament were to dissolve itself in the next couple of weeks, the election could be held as soon as the end of April or the beginning of May. Zec (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) must be consulted, but it is very doubtful if Zec could have the voters’ roll ready so early.”