Can a court defer the harmonised elections?

The Claim: A court cannot grant an order to defer an election on the basis of a delimitation report 
The Verdict: claim verdict

Claim: A court cannot grant an order to defer an election on the basis of a delimitation report 

Verdict: Correct 

The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) spokesperson, Advocate Fadzayi Mahere posted a tweet explaining that deferring an election date is unconstitutional. 

This follows a court application made by MDC-Alliance leader Douglas Mwonzora challenging the authenticity of the delimitation report by the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC). 

Part of the requests made by Mwonzora is that President Mnangagwa not proclaim an election date until ZEC submits a report that complies with the provisions of the Constitution according to Section 161. 

Legal practitioner Nqobani Sithole explained that according to the Constitution, Zimbabwe must hold its elections every five years without fail.

“Assuming that Mwonzora is correct about the delimitation process, the election should not be postponed. The Constitution is very clear that a general election should be held every five years. If it is not provided within that period, we would have to use the old one,” Sithole said. 

“The law states that the delimitation exercise has to be done and completed within 10 years. Failure to proclaim an election date within that period by the president would be a violation of the law.” 

Sithole quoted the following sections of the Constitution which explain the delimitation process and the elections.  

Section 161. Delimitation of electoral boundaries  

(1) Once every ten years, on a date or within a period fixed by the Commission so as to fall as soon as possible after a population census, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission must conduct a delimitation of the electoral boundaries into which Zimbabwe is to be divided. 

(2) If a delimitation of electoral boundaries is completed less than six months before polling day in a general election, the boundaries so delimited do not apply to that election, and instead, the boundaries that existed immediately before the delimitation are applicable. 

Section 158 of the Constitution

(1) A general election must be held so that polling takes place not more than–  

(a) thirty days before the expiry of the five-year period specified in section 143;  

(b) where Parliament has passed resolutions to dissolve in terms of section 143(2), ninety days after the passing of the last such resolution; or  

(c) where Parliament is dissolved in terms of section 109(4) or (5) following a vote of no confidence, ninety days after the dissolution. 

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