By Anna Chibamu
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) says next year’s by-elections will be seriously hampered by the inadequate allocation in the 2022 national budget allocated to the electoral body by Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced last week Zimbabwe will hold parliamentary and local council by-elections before March next year.
However, the ZEC acting deputy elections officer, Jane Chigidi told a post-budget consultative meeting with the parliamentary portfolio committee on Justice the amount allocated to the electoral body seriously hamper preparations of the anticipated by-elections.
“We had put up a bid of $23 billion for the preparations of the 2022 by-elections. In regards to elections, however, only $11 billion was allocated to us meaning that there is a huge shortfall ($12 Billion),” she said Thursday.
“We intended to conduct a voter registration blitz by the end of 2021, but it has been moved to 2022 to pave way for the the Registrar-General’s Office to be able to issue identity documents, which are key for voter registration.”
The by-elections were necessitated by the recalling of scores of MPs and councillors by the opposition MDC-T led by Douglas Mwonzora. The other vacant seats are due to the deaths of the legislators and councillors.
Mnangagwa last year suspended the holding of by-elections as part of the government’s efforts to contain the spread of the global Covid-19 pandemic.