Target Shumba Herald Reporter
President Mugabe has proclaimed September 19, 2015 as the date for by-elections for Mwenezi East, Mbire and Marondera Central following the expulsion of Messrs Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, David Butau and Ray Kaukonde respectively from both Parliament and the ruling Zanu-PF party.
In a Government Gazette published yesterday, President Mugabe said the seats had become vacant after the trio ceased to be members of the ruling party.
“I do, by this proclamation, order new elections for the constituencies of Mbire, Mwenezi and Marondera Central,” President Mugabe said.
“I do, by this proclamation, fix 19th day of September 2015, as the day on which a poll shall be taken if a poll becomes necessary in terms of section 46(17) of the Electoral Act.”
As provided by law, President Mugabe said he had been notified by the Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda of the existence of the vacancies.
Section 39(2) of the Electoral Act empowers the President to make a proclamation ordering new elections after receiving notification of a vacancy in the membership of Parliament.
In the proclamation, President Mugabe set July 20, 2015 as the date on which nomination courts shall sit to receive nominations from aspiring candidates for the three vacant constituencies.
The nomination courts will sit at Bindura Magistrates’ Court for Mbire, Masvingo Magistrates’ Court for Mwenezi East and Marondera Magistrates’ Court for Marondera Central.
The three former legislators were booted out of the ruling party after they were linked to a cabal led by former Vice President Joice Mujuru that sought to topple President Mugabe from power at the 6th National People’s Congress last December.
In addition, the party has also expelled Dr Olivia Muchena and Mr Dzikamai Mavhaire, who are Senators.
The proclamation comes after Mr Bhasikiti, the erstwhile Mwenezi East legislator and Minister of Provincial Affairs for Masvingo, had taken the President to the High Court challenging his expulsion from the party.
Mr Bhasikiti’s case flopped after the court ruled that the matter had been overtaken by events after Adv Mudenda had declared the seat vacant when he received a letter from Zanu-PF disowning him.
Mr Bhasikiti had also sought the Constitutional Court to bar the President from calling an election in his former constituency before the finalisation of the case in which he was contesting his expulsion from Zanu-PF.
High Court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu on Wednesday reserved judgment in Mr Bhasikiti’s case challenge.
By-elections have already been conducted in Headlands and Hurungwe West constituencies after Zanu-PF expelled former legislators Mr Didymus Mutasa and Mr Temba Mliswa respectively for their link to the cabal that sought to unconstitutionally remove President Mugabe.
Other by-elections were also recently held in 14 constituencies after the opposition MDC-T disowned its legislators who had joined the splinter Renewal Team.
All the by-elections were won by Zanu-PF after the MDC-T boycotted them on the grounds that it wanted electoral reforms first.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Rita Makarau said Zanu-PF had nominated Cde Kereniya Uta to fill the vacancy in the National Assembly following the death of Cde Annastacia Nyahwo.
Cde Nyahwo held the seat as one of the party-list members.
Justice Makarau said anyone wishing to object to the nomination of Cde Uta may lodge their objection with the Zec Chief Elections Officer.