General elections in March 2013: Mugabe
ZIMBABWE’S general elections will be held at the end of March next year,
President Robert Mugabe said on Wednesday.
Mugabe made the revelations as he sought permission from the High Court to
delay the holding of by-elections in three Matabeleland constituencies.
It was also revealed that a long-awaited referendum on the country’s new
constitution will be held in the first week of November.
“Due to the unavailability of financial resources, President Mugabe is
asking that the holding of the by-elections be further extended to March 31,
2013, the idea being to subsume the holding of the by-elections in the
harmonised elections to be held in the last week of March 2013,” Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa said in the application filed on behalf of the
He went on: “President Mugabe’s desire is to hold the harmonised elections
in the last week of March, 2013, and a proclamation to this effect will be
made at the appropriate time.”
President Mugabe was ordered to make a proclamation of the election dates by
the High Court last November following an application by the former MDC MPs
who were expelled by their party.
He appealed to the Supreme Court, insisting that the government didn’t have
the financial resources. He argued that fulfilling the ruling would require
that he also calls by-elections to fill about 30 parliamentary seats and
over 160 vacant seats for councillors countrywide at a cost of about US$48
But the Supreme Court threw out the appeal and had given him until August 30
to declare dates for the by-elections. He asked for a month-long extension
which expires on September 30.
Mugabe said in the latest court application that calling the by-elections
would suffocate the government which is struggling to pay its workers.
“I need to inform this honourable court that if we factor in the holding of
by-elections, there would be three key events to take place and to be funded
by government within the duration of six months,” he said.
“These events are the referendum, the by-elections and the harmonised
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)’s estimates are that the
by-elections would require US$47,547,036, the referendum US$104,651,273,
while the general elections would need US$115,374,890.