BY MOSES MATENGA
FINANCE minister Mthuli Ncube has set aside $3,25 billion for the holding of the much-awaited by-elections that President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said will be held during the first quarter of 2022.
Mnangagwa has been under fire from civic groups and the opposition for delaying by-elections to fill 133 vacant parliamentary and local government seats.
In his 2022 national budget presentation on Thursday, Ncube set aside $3,25 billion for the by-elections and $7,75 billion for preparatory works for the 2023 harmonised elections.
“Additionally, the government is also allocating $3,25 billion for the holding of by-elections for vacant constituencies in 2022,” Ncube said.
“The country will be holding general elections in 2023 as enshrined in the Constitution and preparatory works (delimitation, voter registration and inspection) will be undertaken to ensure success of this constitutional requirement.
“The 2022 national budget is, therefore, setting aside $7,75 billion for the respective preparatory works.”
MDC Alliance legislators and councillors were recalled from Parliament and local authorities at the instigation of the Douglas Mwonzora-led MDC-T, setting the stage for the by-elections.
The two MDC formations have insisted on electoral reforms to guarantee a free and fair election.
But Zanu PF has dismissed the electoral reforms call as insincere.
Zanu PF said it would use the by-elections to measure its popularity ahead of the 2023 harmonised elections.
Mnangangwa has already been nominated as Zanu PF’s 2023 presidential candidate and is likely to face MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa, among others.