By-elections for the House of assembly will be conducted in March this year after the President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa finally proclaimed dates for by-elections to fill in the electoral vacancies created by the massive recalls and deaths of elected Members of Parliament and Senate.
The Proclamation made through Statutory Instrument 2 of 2022 prescribed that the nomination court for the elections will sit on the 26th of January 2022 with the by elections going to be conducted on the 26th of March 2022.
In terms of Section 158 (3) of the Constitution polling in by-elections to Parliament and local authorities must take place within ninety days after the vacancies occurred.
However, the government suspended holding of by-elections through Statutory Instrument 225A of 2020 known as Public Health (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (Amendment) Regulations, 2020 (No. 4) in an effort to contain the Covid19 pandemic.
The proclamation of the by-elections comes at a time when some areas had gone for more than a year without elected representation.
The Residents Association Coalition for Electoral Reforms and other Civil Society Organizations have been calling for urgent holding of both local government and House of Assembly by-elections.
In November 2021, CHRA petitioned Parliament to re-consider the revoking of statutory 225A of 2020 which suspended holding of by elections.Under section 110 (e) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe the President has powers to call for elections.
The delay in holding of the by elections to fill electoral vacancies had further crippled accountability in Local Authorities due to absence of the oversight role played by elected officials on technocrats.
Meanwhile, residents are anxiously waiting for the dates of local government by-elections as most councils had been decimated by recalls with the City of Harare failing to meet thrice due to the failure to constitute a quorum.
Source: Combined Harare Residents Association