Most of the seats became vacant following recalls of MDC-Alliance members after the Supreme Court ruled that Nelson Chamisa illegally assumed the leadership of the opposition party.
In other areas, the seats fell vacant following the death of MPs and Councillors.
When can be by-elections be held?
According to Zimbabwean constitution Amendment (No.20) of 2013-part 2 subsection (3) polling in by-elections to Parliament and local authorities must take place within ninety days after the vacancies occurred unless the vacancies occur within nine months before a general election is due to be held, in which event the vacancies may remain unfilled until the general election.
Part 2 section 159 of the constitution state that whenever a vacancy occurs in any elective public office established in terms of this constitution, other than an office to which section 158 applies the authority charged with organizing elections to that body must cause an election to be held within ninety-day to fill the vacancy.
In addition, the Electoral Act Part X section 39 on the action of general elections or by-elections states that where a vacancy in the membership of Parliament exists (otherwise than by reason of a dissolution) such vacancy shall be notified to the President in writing by the Speaker. The President shall, after various steps described in this Section have been taken to ensure the vacancy does actually exist, issue a proclamation ordering a new election to fill the vacancy in the same manner as provided in Section 38 for a general election.
How many seats are vacant for the 26 March by-elections?
Countrywide, there are 28 National Assembly vacant seats in Pumula, Nkulumane, Epworth, Glen Norah, Harare Central, High field East, High field West, Kuwadzana East, Kuwadzana, Mufakose, St Marys, Glen View North, Kambuzuma, Harare East, Dangamvura-Chikanga, Mutasa South, Marondera Central, Marondera East, Murewa South, Chivi South, Mwenezi East, Binga North, Tsholotsho South, Mkoba, Kwekwe, Mbizo, Mberengwa South and Gokwe Central.
There are also 122 vacant council seats.
In the Matabeleland region, there are 20 vacant local authority seats and four National Assembly seats.
In Bulawayo, there are nine vacant council seats that fell vacant following the recall of eight MDC-T party councillors and the death of Ward 8 Councillor Ronniah Mudara in July 2020.
In terms of Parliamentary seats, Bulawayo has two National Assembly vacant seats after Advocate Kucaca Phulu, who was the National Assembly member for Nkulumane constituency and Sichelesile Mahlangu who represented Pumula constituency were recalled.
Matabeleland North has five local authority vacant seats as two councillors were recalled and three ZANU-PF councillors died.
For Parliament seats, Matabeleland North has two vacant seats in Binga North and Tsholotsho South.
Tsholotsho South Constituency fell vacant following the death of ZANU-PF legislator Zenzo Sibanda, while Binga North became vacant after MDC’s Prince Dubeko Sibanda was recalled by his party.
Matabeleland South province has six vacant council seats following the recall of three MDC-T councillors while three ZANU-PF councillors died.
When is the nomination court going to seat?
According to the Statutory Instrument 2 of 2020, proclamation 1 of 2020, President Emmerson Mnangagwa fixed Wednesday the 26th day of January 2022, as the date on which the nomination courts shall sit, commencing at 10 o’clock in the morning at:
1) The Magistrates Court, Court 5, Tredgold Building, Bulawayo.
2) The Magistrates Court, Abdel Gamal Nasser Road (Rotten Row), Harare.
3) The Magistrates Court, 102–4, Main Street, Mutare.
4) The Magistrates Court, Ruzawi Road, Marondera.
5) The Magistrates Court, corner Robert Mugabe Street and Jason Moyo Avenue, Masvingo.
6) The Magistrates Court, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangangwa (Main Street), Gweru.