Blessings Mashaya 10 May 2018
HARARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa is mulling declaring the day of
voting in this year’s eagerly-awaited elections, a public holiday, a
Cabinet minister has said.
Justice and Parliamentary Affairs minister Ziyambi Ziyambi told the
National Assembly on Tuesday that the Constitution allows the president to
declare voting day as a public holiday.
“Also in terms of what you perceive, any job maybe essential depending on
how you look at it but what the Constitution and the Electoral Act has
done is that the day when we are voting, the president is obliged by law
to declare it a public holiday.
“The Act in Section 92 also obligates all the employers to release their
employees so that they can go and vote.
“This is also covered in the Act and all employers will be obligated. I
think that is covered for presiding officers and everyone else, the law
says the day can be declared a public holiday which I think it will,”
Ziyambi told MPs.
“I believe the electoral law covers the electoral officers adequately,
those who will be conducting the elections in Section 72A. Those electoral
officers can vote by postal vote and this is adequately covered and your
fears that they may not vote which are well-founded, I think are covered.
“The only thing that happened when we did the amendment in 2012, some of
the provisions on postal votes were suspended pending the coming in of the
new voters’ roll but I think it is covered,” added the Zanu PF Mashonaland
West provincial chairperson, while responding to MDC chief whip Innocent
Gonese who wanted to know if officers on duty on election day would vote.
“Let us have a mechanism to enable those people to vote because I know
from experience a lot of persons who have been assigned election duties
have been unable to vote.
“Minister, I think it is not fair for those people who will be on duty
carrying out duties assigned to them by the Commission failing to cast
“They should have a right to vote for a person of their choice. So, I
think we must come up with a solution which will enable them to really
cast their vote,” Gonese said.
Zimbabwe holds watershed elections in three months‘ time.
The looming national elections have generated such interest among both
ordinary Zimbabweans and ambitious politicians alike that a number of
opposition leaders are set to contest Mnangagwa in the presidential
The polls themselves will be the first in the past two decades not to
feature former president Robert Mugabe and the popular late opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai.