President Emmerson Mnangagwa has finally declares 26 March 2022, as the date for holding by-elections to fill-in vacant parliamentary and council seats.
Zimbabwe has a total of 133 elective vacancies, which comprise 28 parliamentary seats and 105 council seats emanating from recalls, deaths or dismissals.
Subsequent nomination courts for these vacancies will sit on January 26, 2022 across the country.
Electoral activities were suspended in March 2020 under the guise of the Covid-19 pandemic, which by then had claimed one life in Zimbabwe.
These remained banned despite calls from political parties, civic society and the diplomatic community for the government to hold the polls.
In the first proclamation of 2022 and under Statutory Instrument 2 of the year, President Mnangagwa set March 26, 2022 as provided by Section 39(2) of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13) that reads:
“After the President has been notified in terms of the said section of vacancies in the membership of the National Assembly, he shall issue a proclamation ordering a new election to fill the vacancies in the same manner as is provided in Section 38 of the said Act in regard to a general notice.”
The proclamation noted that in terms of Section 129 (1) (k) and Section 159 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, as read with Section 39 (i) of the Electoral Act the seats of members of Parliament of Pumula, Nkulumane, Epworth, Glen Norah, Harare Central, Highfield East, Highfield West, Kuwadzana, Harare East, Dangamvura-Chikanga, Mutasa South, Marondera Central, Marondera East, Murewa South, Chivi South, Mwenezi East, Binga North, Tsholotsho South, Mkoba, Kwekwe, by reason of members of the National Assembly having ceased to belong a political party which they were members when elected to the National Assembly , by reason of the death of the members of the National Assembly and by reason of appointment of a member to another post.
President Mnangagwa said the Speaker of Parliament (Jacob Mudenda) notified him in writing of the vacancies in the National Assembly due to the recall of the following MPs who ceased to belong to a political party they were members of when elected to the National Assembly: Sichelesile Mahlangu – Pumula, Kucaca Phulu -Nkulumane, Earthrage Kureva -Epworth, Wellington Chidembo -Glen Norah, Murisi Zwizwai – Harare Central , Erick Murai -Highfield East, Happymore Chidziva – Highfield West, Charlton Hwende – Kuwadzana East, Susan Matsanga – Mufakose, Unganani Tawengwa – St Mary’s, William Madzimure -Kambuzuma, Tendai Biti – Harare East, Chapfika Mutseyami – Dangamvra -Chikanga, Regai Tsunga – Mutata South, Caston Matewu – Marondera Central, Killer Zivhu – Chivi South, Price Dubeko Sibanda – Binga North, Amos Chibaya – Mkoba and Settlement Chikwinya – Mbizo.
The Speaker of Parliament also notified President Mnangagwa of vacancies due to the death of following MPs: Miriam Mushayi – Kuwadzana, Kennedy Dinar – Glen View North, Patrick Chidakwa – Marondera East, Joel Biggie Matiza – Murewa South, Joosbi Omar – Mwenezi East, Zenzo Sibanda -Tsholotsho South, Masango Matambanadzo – Kwekwe and Alum Mpofu -Mberengwa South.
The other vacancy was after MP for Gokwe Central, Victor Matemadanda, to the position of Ambassador to the republic of Mozambique.
“Now therefore under and by virtue of the powers vested in the President and afore said I do by this proclamation – order new elections for the aforementioned constituencies and fix Wednesday January 26, 2022 as the date on which the nomination courts shall sit commencing at 10 o’clock in the morning,” read the order.
In Bulawayo, the nomination court for candidates will be held at the Magistrate Court -Court 5 Tredgold Building Leopold Takawira Avenue.
The Magistrate Court at Tredgold Building will also receive nominations of candidates for election as members of the National assembly Constituencies for Pumula, Nkulumane, Binga North and Tsholotsho South.
In Harare, the Magistrate Court Abdel Gamal Nasser Road, (Rotten Row), will sit for candidates for Epworth, Glen Norah, Harare Central, Highfield East, Highfield West, Kuwadzana East, Kuwadzana, Mufakose, St Mary’s Glen View North, Kambuzuma and Harare East.
In Mutare, the Magistrate Court 102 – 4 Main Street will receive nominations for Dangamvura-Chikanga and Mutasa South.
The Magistrate’s Court, Ruzawi Road in Marondera will serve candidates for Marondera Central, Marondera East and Murewa South while the Magistrates Court, corner Robert Mugabe Street and Jason Moyo in Masvingo will serve nominations for Chivi South and Mwenezi East.
In Gweru, the Magistrates Court at Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa (Main Street) will serve candidates for Mkoba, Kwekwe, Mbizo, Mberengwa South and Gokwe Central.
“…and fix Saturday, 26 of March 2022, as the day on which a poll shall be taken if a poll becomes necessary in terms of Section 46 (17)(c) of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2: 13).”
The upcoming by-elections is described by analysts as a barometer for 2023 harmonized elections.