This year’s harmonised elections will be held between July 26 and August 26, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has revealed.
President Mnangagwa is expected to proclaim the election date soon.
Preparations for the polls are, however, at an advanced stage.
“The preparatory work for holding this year’s harmonised general election is at an advanced stage,” Minister Ziyambi told The Sunday Mail.
“The next step that awaits the electorate is the announcement of the election date, through a proclamation by His Excellency, President Mnangagwa.
“It is anticipated that the elections will be held between July 26 and August 26.
“This is in line with 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.
“Consequently, this will result in the dissolution of Parliament at midnight on the day before the first polling day.”
The last harmonised elections were held on July 30, 2018, with President Mnangagwa being sworn into office on August 26.
Treasury, Minister Ziyambi said, was presently mobilising additional resources for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), which has tabled a $130 billion budget.
“As you are aware, the Government has budgeted $76 billion for the 2023 harmonised elections, to which $53 billion is earmarked for the elections,” he added.
“We urge ZEC to utilise the available resources set aside for it in order to ease the burden on the taxpayer. With that said, Treasury will try its best to mobilise adequate resources for the process.”
The Government, he said, was fast-tracking the enactment of the Electoral Amendment Bill before dissolution of Parliament.
The Bill sets out to, among other things, stop the use of driver’s licences as proof of identity for purposes of voting.
It also provides for the election of 10 youths into the National Assembly, in line with Section 124(1)(c) of the Constitution, as amended in 2021.
Further, the Bill seeks to extend the women’s quota in the National Assembly, under a party-list system, while also providing for the election of women on a party list to provincial councils and local authorities, in terms of Section 277(4) of the Constitution.
Currently, the Bill is at the second reading stage in the National Assembly.
After passing through the National Assembly, it will be transmitted to the Senate for debate.
“It is my hope that the Senate stage shall be swift but thorough,” said Minister Ziyambi.
After completion of all parliamentary processes, the Bill will be placed before the President for his assent.
“The Electoral Amendment Bill, as a Bill of paramount significance in light of the upcoming harmonised election, is receiving the due urgency it deserves.”
Minister Ziyambi said Government was satisfied with the electoral reforms since the last polls.
It is believed that platforms such as the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD), which brings together all political parties that participated in the 2018 elections, have enhanced participation of a cross-section of stakeholders in the reform process.
“Furthermore, citizens have also been accorded a voice through parliamentary consultations, despite the fact that their elected officials debate constantly the electoral reforms that affect their political rights,” he added.
“In addition, there has been a lot of civic society contributions that have also been taken on board.
“Dialogue has been held among POLAD, ZESN (Zimbabwe Election Support Network), ERC (Election Resource Centre) and ZLHR (Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights) on a possible laymen’s bill on elections.”
Government, he added, has also engaged the European Union in a political dialogue “that has had issues around electoral reforms considered”.
“Zimbabwe’s ratification of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance testifies to the strengthening of our electoral process beyond domestic standards of a truly democratic electoral process,” said Minister Ziyambi.
Government will be guided by the Electoral Act when inviting and accrediting election observer missions.
In particular, Section 40I (1) of the Act provides that an application for accreditation as an observer must be made no later than the fourth day before the first day of polling for the election of the President, constituency members of the National Assembly or councillors.
“Our law does not really require invitation and places no limitations to this end; rather, it opens up the electoral space to all.”
Last week, ZEC concluded the final national biometric voter registration.