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ED & ZEC in a legal lacuna over election date proclamations

The proclamation of the election has left the president of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is a dilemma over the Youth quota system . Zimbabwe is anxiously waiting for President Mnangagwa to proclaim an election date for the harmonised election . Babra Ontibile Bhebe, Executive Director, Election Resource Centre has revealed that the proclamation of elections has no barring on the implementation of the amendments of the electoral bill which is currently in parliament.

"The proclamation of an election has no baring on the implementation of any amendments to the electoral act. If the amendments to the Act are signed even after proclamation they will apply to that election," she said
Babra Ontibile Bhebe

Babra Ontibile Bhebe, Executive Director, Election Resource Centre has revealed that the proclamation of elections has no barring on the implementation of the amendments of the electoral bill which is currently in parliament.

"The proclamation of an election has no baring on the implementation of any amendments to the electoral act. If the amendments to the Act are signed even after proclamation they will apply to that election," she said

The Bill needs to be finalised as it will operationalise the latest constitutional amendments for the election of 10 youth members of the National Assembly, one from each province, as well as the continued election of 60 women, six from each province, to the National Assembly under a party-list system

"However, in terms of the youth quota, the amendments potentially give guidelines on the nomination process for the youth quota therefore it is imperative for the amendments to be approved before proclamation, because it will leave ZEC in a legal lacuna as to how to effect the nomination process for the youth quota," added ERC executive director Bhebe

The harmonised elections will be held between July 26 and August 26 this year "In terms of international best practice, amendments to the electoral laws must be effected 6 months before an election to ensure buy in and time for stakeholders to adjust to the amendments," she added whilst currently Zimbabwe is left with less between 3 to 4 months before the harmonised election.

Section 158 (1) of the Constitution, which provides that a general election must be held so that polling takes place not more than 30 days before the expiry of the five-year period upon swearing in of the President and/or Parliament. Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, who is the Leader of the

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, who is the Leader of the House, reveal to the state run newspaper that there is need to expeditiously deal with the Bill. “Indeed we need to have it passed before proclamation of elections. Once we manage to do that, it will be used for the forthcoming elections. We will definitely prioritise the Bill and I do not see any impediment from having it passed on time. We will definitely be on time,” said Minister Ziyambi.

The Bill needs to be finalised as it will operationalise the latest constitutional amendments for the election of 10 youth members of the National Assembly, one from each province, as well as the continued election of 60 women, six from each province, to the National Assembly under a party-list system Electoral Amendment Bill currently before Parliament will be given priority so that it is passed on time as it has a bearing on the forthcoming harmonised elections

ZEC is empowered to carry out this exercise in terms of Sections 160 and 161 of the Zimbabwe Constitution and Section 37a of the Electoral Act. If a general election is held less than six months after a delimitation, the old constituency and ward boundaries must be used for the election, according to Section 161(2)] of the Constitution.