THE Justice ministry and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) are yet to give President Emmerson Mnangagwa clear indications as to when the country is likely to go to elections, so that he proclaims the election date.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Opposition parties have been demanding signals from Zec and government on when elections are likely and the “clear signposts” or roadmap to the polls, but as of yesterday, those mandated with running the process were not sure.
Zec acting chief elections officer, Utloile Silaigwana said the elections management body was “working on a plan”.
“Please be advised that Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is still working on a plan and the date of proclamation will be made public once all necessary processes have been undertaken,” he said in written response to questions from NewsDay.
However, sources at Zec said a draft programme had been put in place that includes the possibility of an election on August 4.
“A plan is in place and the draft programme has been sent to the government for approval. However, it remains a draft that cannot be relied upon for direction.
“The draft programme indicates that the proclamation of the election date will be done on May 2, a final voters’ roll should have been produced by June 2 after a month’s inspection from April 29. Zec has proposed that the election be held on August 4, with first results expected a day later and the presidential election pronouncement expected within two days. Zec has also set aside about six months for dispute resolution,” a Zec source said.
Another Zec official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, while he was not sure if the draft programme has been sent to the government “an announcement of the roadmap will be made after proclamation”.
Justice ministry secretary, Virginia Mabhiza yesterday suggested communication might have been made directly with minister Ziyambi Ziyambi.
“I am not sure about a draft programme, unless it has been sent directly to the minister. Ordinarily, we would expect them (Zec) to communicate timeously, but, like I said, they could have already done that with the minister,” she said.
Contacted for comment, Ziyambi said: “I am tied up at the moment and will not be able to comment adequately on that issue. Please call me later in the day.”
In February, Zec chairperson, Priscilla Chigumba said the general elections were likely to be held between July 21 and August 21, if section 158 (1)(a) of the Constitution, which requires that elections must take place not more than 30 days before the expiry of the five year period is to be complied with.
“The last general elections were held on July 31, 2013, and the President-elect was sworn and assumed office on August 22,” she said then, noting, however, the prerogative lay with the President.