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ZIMBABWE'S 2018 elections are likely to be held on July 23, at the earliest, if new constitutional provisions are followed, according to an election watch series by legislative watchdog, Veritas.

Veritas is running an election watch series, providing electoral information and its implementation in the run-up to the elections. In its first bulletin, Veritas said the elections will likely be held between July 23 or August 21 at the latest. Veritas said the polling date of the next general elections was determined by what the Constitution says about the duration of Parliament, citing section 143(1), which states that Parliament is elected for a five-year term, which runs from the date on which the President-elect is sworn in and assumes office.

"The President was sworn in on August 22, 2013, so the five-year term of Parliament ends at midnight on August 21, 2018," the bulletin read.
"The earliest date for polling is July 23, 2018. This is based on section 158 [Timing of Elections], which states that: ‘(1) A general election must be held so that polling takes place not more than 30 days before the expiry of the five-year period specified in section143'. The provisions on the timing of general elections differ from those in the old constitution. The present constitutional provisions were a deliberate change from the provisions in the old constitution in which five years was only a maximum term for Parliament and the President could dissolve Parliament by Presidential Proclamation whenever he wanted before the five-year term had expired."

The legislative watchdog added: "The last date for polling is August 21, 2018. This is based on section 144, which states that: ‘the President must, by proclamation, call and set dates for a general election to be held within the period prescribed in section 158'.

"This means that the election must take place before the five years has expired."

Veritas said the President has the prerogative of setting the election date, but guided by the Constitution and the Electoral Act for the time between the proclamation and polling.

"Section 38 of the Electoral Act stipulates a maximum 84 days between proclamation and polling," the watchdog said.

"So the earliest possible proclamation date is April 30, 2018 for polling on July 23 [leaving an 84-day period from proclamation to polling] and the latest possible proclamation date is July 9, 2018 for polling on August 21 [leaving a 44-day period from proclamation to polling]."

Meanwhile, 2018 elections will be exciting in that so far two well respected prophets have both agreed that a new leader will emerge in these elections. UFIC leader Prophet Makandiwa literally threw the cat among the pigeons, with a “prophecy” that seemed to suggest the current vicious jockeying is in vain.
In a Sunday sermon streamed live on YouTube on 10 July last year, Makandiwa told his congregants that he was “seeing a person coming from outside, who was running towards the people of Zimbabwe”.

“This person is running in the opposite direction to people, who are running towards him, I see a spider and this spider is following this person, who is the chosen one to lead the people,” he said.

Makandiwa said if that person were to join a reputable opposition when he returns to Zimbabwe, he would be the leader to take over from Mugabe.

Another highly endowed prophet, Madzibaba Wimbo, the head of the Mount Darwin-based Johane Masowe Vadzidzi Vajesu Church —  whois famed for having allegedly foretold 60 years ago that Zimbabwe would be led by a man with the name of an angel, Gabriel, with the prophecy allegedly coming to pass when President Robert Mugabe, whose middle name is Gabriel, rose to power in April 1980, has also predicted that a new leader with a foreign name will emerge next year.

He has made another prophesy that a new leader will emerge next year, but did not give names. However, he said the new leader is not among the current favourites who are engaged in Zanu PF’s succession battles, but is an outsider.

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