Zimbabwe News

Zimbabwe poll postponement doubtful

LEGAL think tank, Veritas has expressed doubts that the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) will order postponement of this year’s general elections after MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora mounted a court challenge.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has already said he would proclaim the date for the elections this month and his Zanu-PF party and the main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change are busy preparing for the plebiscite.

Mwonzora and his party approached the ConCourt seeking an order to stop Mnangagwa from proclaiming the election dates because of the controversy surrounding the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s delimitation report.

In its latest Election Watch publication, Veritas said if the ConCourt ruled against Mwonzora, the new delimitation boundaries would be used and elections would be held after August 20, 2023.

“The reason why the court’s decision is important for the date of the forthcoming general election lies in section 161(2) of the Constitution, which states that if a delimitation of electoral boundaries is completed less than six months before an election, the newly-delimited boundaries will not apply to the election,” Veritas said.”Hence if the court decides that the recent delimitation, despite its faults, is constitutionally valid then the newly-delimited boundaries will apply to the general election so long as it is held six months or more after the delimitation report was published.

“The report was published in Proclamation 1 of 2023 on the 20th February 2023, so if the delimitation is to apply then the general election must be held after the 20th of August.”

It added: “Whether the court will order a postponement of the elections is doubtful because there is nothing in the Constitution or the Electoral Act expressly giving the court power to make such an order.”

Veritas said if the court sets aside the delimitation report, elections would be held under the old electoral boundaries which would not require postponement of the elections.

Veritas also said Mnangagwa’s decisions on time-limits for other processes in general elections, such as nomination of candidates would also determine the day the elections are going to be held.

“The law, as we have described it, gives a considerable range of dates for electoral processes to be held,” Veritas said.

Source: bulawayo24

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