Ziyambi Ziyambi, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, has said Zimbabwe’s upcoming harmonised elections are scheduled to take place sometime between July 26 and August 26 of this year.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to proclaim the election date soon.

Ziyambi told The Sunday Mail that the preparatory work for holding this year’s harmonised general election is at an advanced stage, adding that the next step that awaits the electorate is the announcement of the election date, through a proclamation by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

“It is anticipated that the elections will be held between July 26 and August 26.

“This is in line with Section 158 (1) of the Constitution, which provides that a general election must be held so that polling takes place not more than 30 days before the expiry of the five-year period upon swearing in of the President and/or Parliament,” he said.

Consequently, this will result in the dissolution of Parliament at midnight on the day before the first polling day.

“As you are aware, the Government has budgeted $76 billion for the 2023 harmonised elections, to which $53 billion is earmarked for the elections.

“We urge ZEC to utilise the available resources set aside for it in order to ease the burden on the taxpayer. With that said, Treasury will try its best to mobilise adequate resources for the process,” he added.

He said Treasury was presently mobilising additional resources for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), which has tabled a $130 billion budget, Ziyambi said.

The last harmonised elections were held on July 30, 2018, with President Mnangagwa being sworn into office on August 26.

The government is pushing to pass the Electoral Amendment Bill before Parliament ends. The Bill has several objectives, including prohibiting driver’s licenses as proof of identity for voting, electing 10 young people to the National Assembly, and increasing women’s representation in government. It is currently being reviewed by the National Assembly and will move to the Senate for debate once it passes there.

Once Parliament completes its review, the Electoral Amendment Bill will go to the President for approval. The government is giving the Bill the attention it deserves since it is crucial for the upcoming elections.

Minister Ziyambi expressed contentment with the electoral reforms made since the last elections.

He said the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD), which includes the majority of political parties from the 2018 elections, has helped involve various stakeholders in the reform process.

Minister Ziyambi also mentioned that:

1). Citizens have had opportunities to express their views on electoral reforms through parliamentary consultations.

2) The government has also incorporated input from civil society organizations like ZESN, ERC, and ZLHR. Furthermore, there have been discussions among POLAD, ZESN, ERC, and ZLHR about creating a simplified bill on elections.

3). The government has also engaged in political dialogue with the European Union to consider issues related to electoral reforms.

4). Zimbabwe’s ratification of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance demonstrates the country’s commitment to democratic electoral processes.

5). The government will follow the Electoral Act when inviting and accrediting election observer missions. The Act requires that observer applications be submitted no later than four days before the election. There is no limit or requirement for invitations, as the law allows for open participation in the electoral process.

Last week, ZEC concluded the final national biometric voter registration but indicated that registration is ongoing at the commission’s provincial and district offices.