The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) says there won’t be any by-elections in six constituencies where some lawmakers, who were recalled by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T), won a court case early this year to stay in parliament but President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently declared the seats vacant, ahead of the March polls.
In a statement, ZEC’s chief elections officer, Utoile Silaigwana, said, “It is hereby notified that following a court order issued in the case of Kucaca Ivumile Phulu and six others vs Benjamin Rukanda and 7 others, case No HCH 106/22, there exists no vacancies in Nkulumane, Mbizo, Kambuzuma, Mutasa South, Pumula, and Harare East National Assembly Constituencies. The proclamation calling for by-elections issued by His Excellency the president in terms of Statutory Instrument 1 of 2022 on 6 January 2022 is accordingly amended.
“Nomination Courts for the purposes of receiving nominations of candidates for election as members of the National Assembly for the said constituencies shall therefore not sit and there shall be no by-elections in the said constituencies.”
High Court judge Amy Tsanga in April this year dismissed the the recall of members of the People’s Democratic Party – Phulu (Nkulumane), Tendai Biti (Harare East), William Madzimure (Kambuzuma), Settlement Chikwinya (Mbizo), Sichelesile Mahlangu (Pumula) and Regai Tsunga (Mutasa South) noting that Rukanda, who claimed to be the PDP secretary-general, was not a legitimate member of the party.
Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda announced the expulsion of the six legislators saying they had been recalled by the MDC-T led by Douglas Mwonzora.
In another statement, Silaigwana said there won’t be a council by-election in Ward 3, which fell vacant after Tinashe Kambarami of the PDP lost the seat after allegedly failing to disclose a theft conviction.
Silaigwana said, “It is hereby notified for general information that the declaration of a vacancy in ward 3 has been withdrawn by the local authority following an urgent Chamber Application challenging the existence of a vacancy.
“The Nomination Court for the purpose of receiving nominations of candidates for election as councilor for the said ward shall therefore not sit and there shall be no by-election in ward 3 of Bulawayo Municipality.”
The High Court ruled that he violated section 119(2)(e) of the Electoral Act for not disclosing his conviction on theft charges.
Kambarami appealed against the conviction arguing that his recall by the MDC-T following the court ruling was unconstitutional.