Has Zimbabwe breached the constitution by tabling the preliminary demilitation report today?


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Yes, says local think-tank Veritas Zimbabwe. The report, it says, should have been tabled in Parliament by 3 January.

Veritas says the constitution says the report must be tabled within seven days not seven working days.

As things stand, Veritas says the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission must produce the final report by 28 January and it does not seem to have the time to do so.

Zimbabwe is holding its elections in July or August but this must be within 30 days before the expiry of the president’s term of office.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in on 26 August 2018.

The constitution says: “If a delimitation of electoral boundaries is completed less than six months before polling day in a general election, the boundaries so delimited do not apply to that election, and instead the boundaries that existed immediately before the delimitation are applicable.”

It is not clear why Veritas has given the 28 January deadline as polling day can be any date from 26 July to 25 August.

Below is the Veritas article.

The Preliminary Delimitation Report

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC] has been conducting a delimitation exercise since last June in order to fix the boundaries of constituencies and wards for the general election due to be held later this year, and on Monday 26th December the Commission’s chairperson presented the preliminary delimitation report to the President.

We examined the law on delimitation in our Election Watch 3/2022 of the 19th September 2022 [link], and for the purposes of this bulletin it is only necessary to outline what is supposed to happen after the preliminary delimitation report has been presented to the President.  The procedure is laid down in section 161 of the Constitution:

After receiving the preliminary report the President must lay it before Parliament – i.e. the National Assembly and the Senate – within seven days [section 161(7)].

Within 14 days after that, the President must refer the preliminary report back to ZEC for the Commission to consider any issue raised by himself or Parliament.  ZEC must give consideration to any issue so raised, but its decision on them is final [section 161(8) & (9)].

Once ZEC has prepared its final delimitation report it must send the report to the President, who must publish it in the Gazette within 14 days [section 161(10) & (11).

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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