Bulawayo legislator Eddie Cross has speculated that Zimbabwe will hold its much-anticipated elections on 17 August.
He gave the date in Parliament yesterday but quickly added: “It is not that I am a n’anga and I can see into the future, that is one weekend after the heroes day and it is three days or four days before the deadline runs out and that is six months from now.”
August is, however, five months from now.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has not yet proclaimed the date for elections but according to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission they should be held between 21 July and 21 August when Mnangagwa’s term as president expires.
Mnangagwa is serving the remainder of former President Robert Mugabe’s five-year term.
Cross said free and fair elections were the only way for Zimbabwe to get out of the “cage” where it is in now.
“Time is running out and I believe that the election will be on the 17th August, 2018. It is not that I am a n’anga and I can see into the future, that is one weekend after the heroes day and it is three days or four days before the deadline runs out and that is six months from now,” he said.
“We have got a lot of work to do in order to ensure that in 2018, the people of Zimbabwe are given a chance to elect the people that they want to lead them into the future. I believe that for the first time… nearly two thirds of the voters roll is going to be under 35 years of age.
“This is going to be a young person’s election. What I hope Mr. Speaker Sir, is that those young people who put their faith in democracy by registering to vote, will in fact be rewarded by being given an opportunity to vote in a free and fair election.”
Two opposition parties have taken the government to court to stop Mnangagwa from proclaiming a date for the elections until the Political Finances Act is amended to accommodate every political party.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission says it has registered 107 political parties.
According to Parliamentary watchdog Veritas Zimbabwe, which says the elections can only be held between 23 July and 21 August, the earliest Mnangagwa can announce election dates is 30 April and the latest is 8 July if the elections are to be held on 21 August.
Ed: Read Cross’s entire speech here