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poll date set
February 02, 2005
THE 2005 general
elections — the sixth such polls to be held in Zimbabwe after independence
in 1980 — will be held on Thursday March 31, President Mugabe announced
In a proclamation published in an Extraordinary Government Gazette,
President Mugabe said he will dissolve the current Parliament on
He set February 4 (this Friday) as the date on which the voters’
roll shall be regarded as closed for the purpose of accepting voters
who may vote in the election.
Nomination courts will sit on February 18 to receive names of those
intending to contest in the polls.
The nomination courts will sit in Harare at Mashonganyika Building;
at Tredgold Building in Bulawayo; and at the magistrates’ courts
in Gweru, Mutare, Masvingo, Bindura, Marondera, Chinhoyi and Gwanda.
The election of the 10 chiefs to Parliament would be done by electoral
colleges which will sit on April 8 in Harare, Mutare, Marondera,
Chinhoyi, Masvingo, Ntabazinduna, Gwanda and Gweru.
The electoral college in Harare would be constituted by the Council
of Chiefs, while electoral colleges in Mutare, Bindura, Marondera,
Chinhoyi, Masvingo, Ntabazinduna, Gwanda and Gweru would be constituted
by the provincial assembly of chiefs.
President Mugabe also fixed February 1 as the date on which the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Act and the Electoral Act would
come into operation.
The two pieces of legislation were passed by Parliament towards
the end of last year and were assented to by the President.
They ensured that Zimbabwe complies with the Southern Africa Development
Community (Sadc) principles and guidelines governing elections in
The guidelines were adopted by Sadc leaders at their summit in Mauritius
The ZEC Act and the Electoral Act were approved by Parliament after
the ruling Zanu-PF and opposition MDC agreed on a number of amendments.
The Electoral Act allows for the establishment of an Electoral Court
to deal with disputes arising from an election.
The ZEC Act, on the other hand, allows for the establishment of
the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission — an independent body to run elections
— after consultations with the Judicial Services Commission and
recommendations by a parliamentary committee made up of all political
parties represented in Parliament.
President Mugabe has since appointed members of the commission with
High Court judge Justice George Mutandwa Chiweshe as chairman.
Other members are Mrs Sarah Letty Kachingwe, who would deputise
Justice Chiweshe, Mrs Vivian Stella Ncube, Professor George Payne
Kahari and Reverend Jonathan Siyachitema.
Several parties are represented at the highest level in the parliamentary
committee with Zanu-PF having Vice Presidents Msika and Mujuru,
national chairman Cde John Nkomo and the Leader of the House, Cde
Patrick Chinamasa, among others.
The MDC is represented in the committee by the leader of the opposition
in Parliament, Mr Gibson Sibanda, and secretary-general Professor
Welshman Ncube, among others, while Zanu (Ndonga) is represented
by its president Mr Wilson Kumbula.
The other three nominees in the committee — which met on January
4 to make the nominations — had selected Bulawayo lawyer Mr Samuel
Mlauzi, Mrs Constance Manika and Mrs Teresa Mugadza.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is responsible for preparing and
conducting the elections for the Office of the President and to
Parliament, local authorities and conducting referendums.
The commission would direct and control the registration of voters
by the authority charged with the registration of voters, ensure
the proper custody and maintenance of the voters’ roll and registers
as well as conduct voter education.
President Mugabe also appointed Harare lawyer Mr Theophilus Pharaoh
Gambe as the new chairperson of the Electoral Supervisory Commission
(ESC) to replace Mr Sobusa Gula-Ndebele, who was recently appointed
The announcement of the polling date comes a few weeks after the
Delimitation Commission had finished its task of demarcating constituencies.
The exercise resulted in Harare, Bulawayo and Matabeleland South
losing one constituency each, while Manicaland, Mashonaland East
and Mashonaland West provinces gained one each.
The announcement is also a wake-up call to all those intending to
participate in the election to intensify their campaigns.
Zanu-PF has already completed its selection process of candidates
who would represent it in all the constituencies and has set Saturday
as the day for the official launching of its campaign.
Other parties are, however, still engaged in the selection process
while the MDC has not come out clear on whether it would participate
in the election, having threatened to boycott them last year.
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