Zimbabwe will have its harmonised elections between July and August 2023, a local election watchdog has said.
In a memo titled Clarification on the Proclamation of election dates, the Election Resource Centre (ERC) says elections are likely to take place between the 27th of July – the 26th of August 2023.
“…Taking into account the timelines for the sitting of the nomination court and the possible election dates between 27 July 2023 – 26 August 2023 …” says ERC.
“According to section 158 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, a general election (harmonised election) must be held so that polling takes place not more than thirty days before the expiry of the five-year period which runs from the date on which the President-elect is sworn in and assumes office. President E.D. Mnangagwa was sworn in on 26 August 2018.
“The thirty-day period before the expiry of the Presidential term runs from 27 July – 26 August 2023. According to section 38 of the Electoral Act, the President must fix a date for a general election and elections for Councillors, Members of Parliament, and the President, after consultation with the Commission.
‘’The proclamation must take into consideration; – Nomination Court – which must sit at least fourteen and not more than twenty-one days after the day of publication of the proclamation for the purpose of receiving nominations of candidates for election. – Polling Day – which must be held at least thirty and not more than sixty-three days after the sitting of the nomination court,” says ERC.
Addressing Zanu PF supporters in Mudzi recently President Emmerson Mnangagwa hinted that elections will be held in August.
“… Elections will be held in August, I am releasing a little bit of information. We must vote for our cultural heritage which was fought for by Zanu PF. Respect for black people was brought by Zanu PF.
‘’So you must decide which side you would want to be counted on, either the side of those that are lost or the side for people who are on track. If you want to go along with me talk the language of Zanu PF,” said President Mnangagwa.
Political analyst Dr. Zamchiya believes Zimbabwe is likely to have a snap election.
Said Dr. Zamchiya “However, based on political praxis, the proclamation to set the election date is likely to be in the week of 29 May to 2 June 2023 again allow a very small margin of error. Any proclamation in late June to July, though legal, will politically cast the poll as a ‘snap election’.
‘’A snap election is one that is called suddenly and without a long political campaign period. Some authoritarian leaders use a snap election to ambush the opposition. I also do not foresee a late proclamation because can trigger a crisis or shambolic election given financial and logistical demands for a harmonised election and ZEC’s state of unpreparedness.”