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Time Ticking Away For Mugabe's By-Election Call

President Mugabe is away attending the United Nations General Assembly
The 30-day extension period granted to President Robert Mugabe by the High Court to gazette by-election dates in three Matebeleland constituencies expires in six days with no action yet from the president, who is currently in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

The seats fell vacant following the expulsion from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation of Industry Minister Welshman Ncube and subsequently from parliament of Abednico Bhebhe, Norman Mpofu and Njabuliso Mguni.

Bhebhe told VOA Studio 7 they are eagerly waiting to see what the president will do but are equally disappointed that he may be intending to proclaim the dates on the last day.

The president was initially ordered by the Supreme Court to call for by-elections in Nkayi South, Lupane East and Bulilima East on August 30.

He successfully filed a court application to extend the period of announcing the by-election date.

President Mugabe has indicated that about US$38,3 million is needed for polls to fill all the vacant posts.

There are close to 30 vacant seats in the House of Assembly and the Senate but the court ruling only directly affects the three Matabeleland seats.

University of Zimbabwe law lecturer and National Constituency Assembly chairman Lovemore Madhuku said President Mugabe can still announce the dates for the by-elections and change them anytime just to delay the process.

The court ruled in July that Mugabe should gazette dates for the elections in three constituencies - Nkayi South, Lupane East and Bulilima East by August 30.