PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has proclaimed December 19 this year as the date for the by-election to fill up the Nkulumane seat left vacant through the death of the MDC-T’s Thamsanqa Mahlangu early last month.
The Nomination Court shall sit Friday 6 November at Bulawayo Magistrates Court ahead of polling next month.
According to Veritas, a private group watching over parliament and legislation, the polling day complies with the constitutional requirement that voting in a by-election must be within 90 days of a vacancy occurring.
Zanu PF is almost guaranteed of grabbing yet another Bulawayo seat as the MDC-T has vowed it will not take part in any polls with the electoral environment still skewed in favour of the ruling party.
“The position of the MDC is that it is not going to take part in elections without reforms. That position has not been changed,” MDC-T secretary general Douglas Mwonzora told NewZimbabwe.com last month.
“So we are seeking reforms and we are at an advanced stage to force government to implement these reforms.”
Mahlangu, who was once deputy youth minister in the country’s short-lived inclusive government, succumbed to cancer in his Bulawayo base last month.
For the first time in 15 years, Zanu PF June this year romped to victory in five Bulawayo constituencies virtually unchallenged.
The by-elections were called following the parliamentary expulsion of 21 party MPs who broke ranks with the party to form another political party.
Mwonzora said the thought of relinquishing yet another seat in Bulawayo will not worry his party.
“It does not (worry us) because right now it (Zanu PF) has the majority anyway but we know the seat is ours; we know we are going to get it, we know certainly that this is the best course of action to take,” he said.
The controversial poll boycott stance has fuelled tensions among incorrigible Zanu PF haters within the ranks of the opposition in Bulawayo who have worked hard to ensure the party is banished from the city.
Zanu PF has vowed it will never lose sleep over the MDC-T poll snub although civic groups rue this as a lost opportunity for opposition forces to continue testing the country’s fragile democracy.