President Emmerson Mnangagwa Wednesday said by-elections would go ahead even if the opposition boycotts them to protest his failure to implement reforms that would guarantee free and fair polls.
Mnangagwa made the remarks while addressing about 6 000 party supporters in Dulivhadzimu Stadium in Beitbridge where he presided over the commissioning of 28 houses for civil servants.
He claimed victory was certain for the ruling party. Mnangagwa boasted as the crowd cheered:
We are going to have by-elections in 2022 and tinovasvasvanga (we will trounce them). In 2023, we will then have general elections tovarakasha (we will beat them).
The opposition has hinted that they will boycott the elections, but we will hold them all the same.
Mnangagwa has said the by-elections will be held during the first quarter of next year.
There are 133 vacant Parliamentary and local government seats following the recall of MDC Alliance legislators and councillors.
Mnangagwa said the central government expects both rural and urban local authorities to address housing issues, “but we have no local authorities, they are dead.”
MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said any proclamation for elections must be accompanied by a clear reform roadmap that paves the way for an undisputed election. She added:
The bad governance and legitimacy crisis that continues to plague Mr Mnangagwa’s regime is a direct result of the disputed election of 2018.
Mahere added that there was a need to disband the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) which is accused of being captured by the ruling ZANU PF.
MDC-T spokesperson Witness Dube said ZANU PF’s claims that the opposition feared by-elections is a strategy meant to conceal the ruling party’s fear for electoral reforms.