The Herald (Harare)

17 June 2013

Zimbabwe: Political Parties Geared for Polls

POLITICAL parties said yesterday that they are preparing to launch their campaigns for the harmonised elections expected on July 31 following the proclamation of the date by President Mugabe last week.

The major political parties are preparing for their primaries while others are yet to run the primary elections.

Zanu-PF spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo said the revolutionary party was preparing for the primary elections slated for June 24 before they start campaigning.

"Primaries would be made on June 28 and from there, campaigning will begin," said Cde Gumbo.

"There will be several rallies and President Mugabe will also hold star rallies in different areas."

Cde Gumbo said everything would be finalised after nominations of the candidates.

MDC-T spokesman Mr Douglas Mwonzora said the party had started preparing for elections although this was not triggered by President Mugabe's proclamation of the date for the harmonised elections.

"We have started preparing for elections logistically, financially and strategically. We are not recognising July 31 as the election date. Our preparations for elections were not triggered by the President's announcement of the election date but by the common sense that we are in an election season," he said.

MDC spokesperson, Mr Kurauone Chihwayi said: "We have been campaigning since our last congress in 2011. Our president, Professor Welshman Ncube, started campaigning soon after his election in 2011. He is one man who does not rest. He is always working hard campaigning."

Mr Chihwayi said the MDC primary elections started on June 16 and this week the party would be holding primary elections in Chitungwiza, parts of Bulawayo and some selected centres.

"Our president has arrived from South Africa and would be joining us. We are going to field candidates in 1 959 wards and in all House of Assemblies (constituencies)."

Mavambo Kusile Dawn president Dr Simba Makoni said the party election directorate would meet tomorrow (Tuesday).

"This Tuesday we are going to have an election directorate meeting where we will decide on the campaign programme," he said.

President Mugabe last week proclaimed July 31 as the date for the harmonised elections and set June 28 for the sitting of the Nomination Court to accept presidential, parliamentary and council candidates in compliance with the Constitutional Court judgement that harmonised elections be held by July 31. He made the announcement in his capacity as President of the Republic of Zimbabwe.

Section 58 (1) of the Constitution stipulates that an election to the office of the President, a general election and elections of members of governing bodies of local authorities should be held on a day or days immediately following its dissolution.

The terms of office of the President and that of Parliament expire on June 29 and the President has announced the election dates in fulfilment of the Constitution and a ruling by the Constitutional Court compelling him to hold the elections by July 31.

The date is also in line with the election roadmap set by the inclusive Government that was mainly guided by the adoption of the new Constitution.

According to Statutory Instrument 86 of 2013, a presidential run-off would be held on September 11 if no candidate manages to score 50 percent plus one vote. President Mugabe also explained to other leaders in the inclusive Government his decision to invoke the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act Chapter 10:20 to effect amendments that were adopted by Cabinet on Tuesday to the Electoral Act.

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