The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission says although the President has the prerogative to proclaim general elections, the constitution says they must be held between 21 July and 21 August unless Parliament is dissolved in terms of the Constitution.
There is only a two-day difference between the dates announced by the ZEC chair Priscillah Chigumba and those proposed by Veritas Zimbabwe.
Veritas says the President can no longer dissolve Parliament at will.
Parliament can, however, dissolve itself provided this is approved by two-thirds of the members of the National Assembly and the Senate sitting separately.
Below is Chigumba’s full statement.
Here is the election roadmap according to Veritas.
2018 General Elections
Following numerous requests by a cross-section of the public for the 2018 general elections date, the Commission hereby draws the public’s attention to Section 158(1)(a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which outlines that a general election must take place not more than thirty days before the expiry of the five year period specified in Section 143 of the Constitution. Section 143 of the Constitution specifies that Parliament is elected for a five-year term which runs from the date on which the President-elect is sworn in and assumes office in terms of Section 94(1)(a).
The last general elections were held on 31 July 2013 and the President-elect was sworn in and assumed office on 22 August 2013. The current President’s term of office expires on 21 August 2018. From a reading of Section 158(1)(a) aforementioned it follows that the next general elections should thus be held on any date between 21 July and 21 August 2018 unless Parliament is dissolved in terms of Section 158 (1) (b) or 158 (1) (c) of the Constitution.
However, dates for general elections are set by the President by way of a Proclamation in terms of Section 144 of the Constitution. After a Proclamation of an election date, the Nomination Courts must sit on a day which is at least 14 days and not more than 21 days after the proclamation date. The elections must then be held on a day which is at least 30 days and not more than 63 days after the Nomination Court day.
Whilst the Commission awaits the issuance of a Proclamation for the 2018 Harmonised Elections it is seized with the processes of decrypting data from the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) exercise and preliminary cleaning of data collected during the blitz phases as it awaits the delivery of de-duplication software. After data de-duplication, a Provisional Voters Roll will be produced and opened for public inspection before the final roll is printed.
Hon. Mrs.Justice P. M. Chigumba
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission