Military takeover: 2018 elections now in doubt

By Daniel Chigundu

Veritas Zimbabwe says there is a likelihood that 2018 elections will be postponed owing to current political issues bedevilling the country which were worsened by the recent military intervention.

On Tuesday, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) took over power from President Robert Mugabe a development which some commentators have described as “soft coup”.

On its part, ZDF said it has not taken over power but has just intervened to root out criminal elements surrounding the President.

In its weekly Bill Watch serious for 16 November 2017, Veritas said there is no way that the ruling party will be ready for 2018 polls owing to the current crisis it is experiencing.

“Whatever the composition of the next government, it is quite possible that the general election scheduled for next year will be postponed.  The current political turmoil means that the ruling party will be unable to contest an election soon, and opposition parties and coalitions are in almost perpetual disarray.

The legal watchdog added that “voter registration is not going smoothly and a delimitation of wards and constituencies has not even been attempted.

“The Electoral Act remains unaligned to the Constitution.  For all these reasons there is likely to be substantial support for postponing the election,” reported the Bill Watch.

According to Veritas, this postponement will, however, require amending the constitution which currently has set the date for the 2018 elections to be in August latest.

“This will need an amendment to the Constitution because under section 158 general elections must be held every five years; the deadline for next year’s election in August.

“As stated above a Constitutional amendment will have to be passed by a two-thirds majority in the Senate and the National Assembly, but if all parties agree on the postponement such a majority may not be too difficult to secure,” said Veritas.

Zanu PF currently has the two-thirds majority in the National Assembly and will not have many challenges in making the amendment to postpone the polls.

It, however, remains unclear what the military will do after conducting its alleged cleansing ceremony, whether it will hand over power back to civilian leadership or it will continue until the elections.

Up until now, the 2018 elections have been seen as the do-or-die for the position parties to remove President Mugabe, but the latest development could usher in a new approach to things.  

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