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Lawyer frets over election date secrecy – NewsDay

President Emmerson Mnangagwa

LAW expert and Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum executive director Musa Kika has revealed that failure by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to proclaim an election date as stipulated by the Constitution stems from anomalities in the supreme law.

Mnangagwa has remained mum on election date three months before the country is constitutionally expected to go to the polls.

The Constitution stipulates that general elections must be held every five years, and not later than 30 days before the end of the current Parliament term.

In his commentary to mark the tenth anniversary of the Constitution, Kika highlighted seven other mistakes in the Constitution which include allowing the Constitution to be amended without a referendum, lack of a transitional mechanism for transfer of power and giving powers to recall Members of Parliament to political parties and not the voters, among others.

 “We missed an opportunity to clearly stipulate an election date, and we now have to deal with secrecy.  Why should the date of the next election be a secret to be pronounced by the incumbent, when he or she feels ready and feels like pronouncing the date?

“What if he or she does not feel like pronouncing it, or decides to pronounce it on short notice? Who suffers what prejudice? There is no reason why a whole nation and an entire world should be kept guessing about when we are having elections, unless someone somewhere wants to do something with election timing to derive a benefit. Assuming nothing is done or is about to be done in manipulating timing, the optics and perception are enough to taint credibility,” Kika said.

Other countries, like Kenya, have specific dates for every election cycle.

Opposition parties accused Mnangagwa of using his powers to proclaim the election date to the advantage of the ruling Zanu PF party as he was also a candidate in the upcoming elections.

“The Constitution sets out clearly the timelines within which elections must be held although the law requires reforms so that the election dates are proclaimed independently and not by a party who has an interest in the cause,” Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said.

“Be that as it may, we have put in place safeguards to ensure the citizens win big in the August election despite the anticipated attempts by Zanu PF to manipulate the will of the people.”

Zvido Zvevanhu Paople’s Party leader Godfrey Matadi said: “When we say these elections are not free and fair, this is exactly what we are talking about.  By withholding theelection date, Mnangagwa is trying to frustrate and cause confusion among other contestants, keeping us guessing for his advantage. Without electoral reforms, we are going nowhere as a nation.”

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Miss Universe Zimbabwe set for September – The Herald

Nomxolisi Museta Arts Correspondent

In what promises to be the best news in the modelling industry this year in Zimbabwe, organisers of Miss Universe Zimbabwe (MUZ) have said the beauty pageant will be held on September 9.

This came after former Miss Zimbabwe 2014  Tendai Hunda was awarded a licence to hold the local version of Miss Universe Zimbabwe after 22 years’ hiatus.

The last model to have taken part was Tsungai Muswerakuenda in 2001, while the licence was held by Yvette D’Almeda-Chakras.

On April 4, Hunda got a call from the organisers of Miss Universe congratulating her for being awarded the licence after she had applied for it.

Speaking at a press conference held in Harare at Rainbow Towers, Hunda, who is the national director for MUZ, said they were ready to host the local pageant, with the winner to be sent to the international pageant.

“We have scheduled an introductory fundraising dinner for June 10 ahead of September 9, the date earmarked for the Miss Universe Zimbabwe pageant in Harare,” she said.

“The main purpose of the MUZ contest is to choose a Zimbabwean representative to appear at the Miss Universe stage in December in El Salvador, Central America. As you can imagine, holding the national competition to choose our delegate won’t be a simple task, thus we humbly ask for support from Government, the corporate sector, media and every other sector key to make this endeavour a success.”

Hunda, who is also co-director of the Miss Zimbabwe Queen beauty pageant which selects contestants to represent Zimbabwe at regional and international pageants like Miss Intercontinental Africa and Miss Top Model of the World, said this was a great opportunity for Zimbabwean girls to shine.

“Good thing, the Miss Universe has opened doors to the young girls, married or not married, pregnant and those with children to take part. The age limit is 28.

“By the way, I was crowned Miss Zimbabwe 2014 and represented Zimbabwe at the Miss World competition 2014 hosted in London, United Kingdom. I created a platform called Hundah, which today is one of Zimbabwe’s leading modelling agencies.

“As the Miss Zimbabwe Queen organisation, we realised that Zimbabwe was not being given a fair chance to participate on the Miss Universe global platform which claims to be an inclusive stage for the modelling and beauty industry.”

Hunda said against this background, she felt compelled to take on the challenge to have Zimbabwe reinstated to the Miss Universe competition, resulting in her acquiring the licence to host Miss Universe Zimbabwe.

“I am absolutely elated that Zimbabwe is about to end its protracted absence and resume its participation in the coveted Miss Universe pageant. One of the top four beauty pageants in the world, Miss Universe, is owned and operated by the Miss Universe Organisation in the United States.

“Simply by joining, its candidates are exposed to a variety of networking and employment prospects.

“This organisation exists to advocate for a future fashioned by women with the guts to push the boundaries of what is possible.

“We have engaged the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation and the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, key stakeholders in the successful hosting of this pageant as they are the custodians of our arts sector and youth empowerment.”

Hunda said the return of Miss Universe Zimbabwe was valuable.

“We also firmly believe the return of Miss Universe Zimbabwe is symbiotic and will provide a valuable lifeline to the country’s arts sector while contributing towards youth empowerment as the country’s fashion designers, makeup artists and even musicians get an opportunity to showcase their work,” he said.

“If successful, the competition will not only be a historic occasion, but will also significantly raise Zimbabwe’s international status.”

Hunda said the pageant perfectly fits the Government’s policy of engagement and re-engagement and presents a great opportunity for progressive corporates to come on board and collaborate.

“After all, the proverb goes, ‘Alone you can go far, but together we can go further’. Again, in line with the President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s mantra ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business,” what better way to signal that Zimbabwe is open for international collaboration than by participating in one of the world’s biggest competitions,” she said.

Hunda said they had started the process of registering the competition.

Speaking at the same press conference, former Miss Universe Zimbabwe, Langa Lloyd Sibanda, said the return of Zimbabwe on the international scene was good news to the industry.

“I have pledged my full support to the organisation, coming from a background that I was once there, on such a stage,” she said. “I remember 27 years ago in Las Vegas, the US, that I represented Zimbabwe on that stage.

“It was a great opportunity coming from a rural background. It was something I never thought would happen for a Zimbabwean girl. It was exciting and daunting at the same time.

“Nobody called me Langa at the show, but they just shouted ‘Zimbabwe’. Congrats to the licence holders and let’s make it happen and I am happy for this.”

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Mnangagwa calls August 23 election amid concerns over voters roll –

HARARE – Zimbabweans will vote in general elections on August 23, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced in a proclamation on Wednesday.

The nomination court will sit on June 21 to vet candidates, and should the election produce no clear winner, a run-off election will be held on October 2, the Zanu PF leader announced.

Mnangagwa said in the proclamation published in a government gazette: “In relation to the election to the office of president referred to in section 92(1) of the constitution, determine that a nomination court shall sit on the 21st day of June, 2023, commencing at 10 o’clock in the morning, in the High Court, Court A, Mapondera Building, Samora Machel Avenue, Harare.

“Now, therefore, under and by virtue of the powers vested in the president as aforesaid, I do, by this proclamation… fix the 23rd day of August, 2023, as the day of the election to the office of president, the election of members of the National Assembly and election of councillors.

“And… fix the 2nd day of October, 2023, as the day of the runoff election to the office of president, that is to say as the day on which a poll shall be taken if such a poll becomes necessary in terms of section 38(1)(a)(iii) of the Electoral Act.”

The proclamation means Zimbabweans not yet registered to vote have until end of day on Friday to register as voters if they are to cast their ballots in August’s election.

The announcement came as the main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change accused Zanu PF of using shadowy organisations to meddle in ongoing voters roll verification by voters.

Tendai Biti, the party’s deputy leader, told parliament on Tuesday that agents of on organisation known as Forever Associate Zimbabwe (FAZ) had been seen at polling stations throughout the country purportedly providing “security.”

“They are virtually in every polling station,” Biti said. “We read that they purport to come from the intelligence service but we know the intelligence service and our intelligence authority. What is this creature called FAZ and why is it interfering with our elections? If we create parallel structures, it will lead to disaster and military coups.”

FAZ is reportedly run by the Central Intelligence Organisation, raising  questions about the agency’s partisan role in sustaining Zanu PF’s rule.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is also facing criticism for refusing to release a searchable voters roll to opposition parties, while the same is available to Zanu PF. Many voters are reporting failing to find their names on the roll of voters at polling stations where they previously voted, and are registered.

CCC leader Nelson Chamisa is reportedly anxious to avoid focusing too much on ZEC’s shortcomings, fearing this could discourage voters from coming out on August 23.

Some fear ZEC is not ready to conduct a free-and-fair election.

“The fact that, following today’s election proclamation, the cut-off date for voter registration for the forthcoming election is June 2, 2023, only a day after the end of the ongoing voter inspection of the provisional voters roll means that ZEC’s preparation and compilation of the final voters roll will be based on a poorly audited provisional voters roll. That’s bad news,” said former Tsholotsho North MP and political scientist Professor Jonathan Moyo.

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Zimbabwe to hold general elections in August; summons US ambassador for ‘meddling’ tweets – WION

Zimbabwe will hold its presidential and parliamentary elections on August 23, the country’s president announced on Wednesday (May 31). The southern African country which has a history of violent and disputed elections, summoned the United States deputy ambassador over a series of tweets which called for a peaceful election. 

Zimbabwe gears up for national elections

The announcement of the dates was made by Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa through a government gazette, on Wednesday, which also set the date October 2 as a potential presidential runoff vote. Mnangagwa who was elected president in 2018, replaced his predecessor Robert Mugabe who led the country for nearly four decades. 

Mugabe was ousted in 2017 after a military coup. The 80-year-old incumbent is already facing allegations of violence and intimidation by the opposition, while human rights groups have said that the Zimbabwe president is silencing criticism. Mnangagwa took office in 2018 following the general election a year after the coup.

In addition to the presidential election, the country will also vote for the 300-seat parliament and close to 2,000 local council positions. The southern African nation has only had two leaders since it gained independence in 1980. 

Notably, Mnangagwa was a close ally of Mugabe and has attempted to present himself as a reformer, however, he has been accused of being more repressive than his predecessor who he helped remove from power. 

In the upcoming election, Mnangagwa will compete with the 45-year-old lawyer and pastor Nelson Chamisa, party leader of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC). The announcement of the election also comes amid the ongoing parliamentary debates over electoral reforms. 

As per reports, Chamisa narrowly lost to Mnangagwa, in 2018 while his claims of election rigging were dismissed by the country’s Constitutional Court. Meanwhile, political analysts have said that the failure to implement electoral reforms may lead Zimbabwe up for another disputed election, reported Reuters. 

The southern African nation is also in the midst of an economic crisis which has been attributed to Mugabe’s leadership. The opposition parties have reportedly also blamed the current government for corruption and economic mismanagement while Mnangagwa defending his ZANU-PF-led government blamed Western sanctions for the country’s financial and economic woes. 

US deputy ambassador summoned by Zimbabwe’s foreign ministry

The election announcement came a day after Zimbabwe’s foreign ministry summoned the US Deputy Ambassador Elaine French, for a meeting with the country’s foreign affairs acting permanent secretary Rofina Chikava for “election-related social media posts bordering on activism and meddling in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs,” reported the Associated Press. 

The US embassy, took to Twitter, on May 26 posted an image and called for Zimbabweans to “Register to vote and make sure your voice is heard.” The foreign ministry said the tweet was against diplomatic protocols. However, US Embassy spokeswoman Meg Riggs said that they stand by their message of calling for peace during the election season and called the process a part of a “functioning democracy.”

(With inputs from agencies) 


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