Zvamaida Murwira and Kudzaishe Muhamba
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission says it was ready to conduct the forthcoming by-elections and has unveiled a roadmap which include voter education, production of election material, training of polling officers among others that will lead to holding of 28 National Assembly constituency by-elections set for March 26 2022.
The roadmap followed proclamation of election dates and nomination court by President Mnangagwa on Thursday that will see the Nomination Court sitting on January 26, 2020 to receive names of candidates.
ZEC spokesperson, Commissioner Joyce Kazembe said a comprehensive roadmap was in place that will ensure a smooth holding of by-elections.
The seats became vacant following the deaths of legislators, recall of opposition MPs by their sponsoring political parties. Comm Kazembe said they had adequate budgetary support to hold the polls to the tune of $1,5 billion while they will need to recruit more personnel given the shortage of staff they were going through.
“A comprehensive roadmap is already in place while preparation of voter education materials for pre-nomination voter education and preliminaries on voters’ rolls compilation for nomination and polling have already started. According to Section 26A of the Electoral Act, the voters’ roll for the National Assembly by-elections closes on January 08, 2022 two days after the day of proclamation.
“This will be followed by an invitation of the media and observers for accreditation,” said Comm Kazembe.
“As stated in the proclamation, the nomination courts for National Assembly by-elections will sit at Provincial Magistrates Courts while those for Local Authorities, will sit at their respective boardrooms on 26 January 2022.
“The Commission will publish the nomination court results in the press. Soon after sitting of nomination courts, the Commission will establish Multi-Party-Liaison Committees to resolve electoral disputes that may arise. Other activities on the roadmap that will be conducted before polling day on 26 March 2022 include designing and printing of ballot papers and training of polling officers.”
She said ZEC had enough budgetary support for the by-elections.
“The Commission has adequate financial resources for the by elections budgeted at $1.5 billion Zimbabwe dollars,” she said.
She said ZEC will soon approach relevant Government bodies so that it could be allowed to recruit additional staff to boost their compliment.
“The Commission does not have enough personnel to conduct the by-elections hence it will source additional human resource from the Public Service Commission, the Health Services Board, Statutory bodies and local authorities as stated in Section 10 (1) of the Electoral Act. The Commission will hold a strategic Planning workshop to firm on by-election activities, mobile voter registration and the impending delimitation exercise,” she said.
In a related matter, MDC-T leader, Mr Douglas Mwonzora said they will contest the by-elections.
“We want to put it on record that we as MDC-T will contest the by-elections and we have put in motion preparatory work for that,” said Mr Mwonzora.
The party spokesperson, Mr Witness Dube said they will participate under the name MDC- Alliance given that Mr Mwonzora was duly confirmed as the legitimate leader of the party.
He said the Nelson Chamisa led MDC will have to get an alternative name.
Although MDC Alliance spokesperson, Ms Fadzai Mahere declined to comment saying she was in court, she has been on record saying her party will consult their membership on whether to change its name or not.