Bill Watch 35/2012 of 24th July

Updated Details of Vacant Parliamentary Constituencies

There has been considerable confusion recently about the number of Parliamentary vacancies due for by-elections, with discrepancies between figures mentioned by Minister Chinamasa in the Senate and picked up by the media, and those given in Veritas bulletins. This bulletin will hopefully clear up the confusion.

All figures and facts about vacancies in this bulletin have been verified against Parliamentary records.

Possible Reasons for Discrepancies

Veritas when talking about by-elections has referred only to the number of seats due for by-elections. Only constituency seats are, when they become vacant, up for by-elections. There are other vacant seats that need to be filled but not through by-elections. There are also some seats which the press have reported as vacant which are not officially vacant.

Vacant seats not requiring by-elections

• 2 of these are appointed Senate seats:

1 was occupied by the late Senator Dr David Karimanzira who was Harare Provincial Governor [vacancy to be filled by the President by appointment of a new Provincial Governor for Harare]; 1 was occupied by the late appointed Senator Dr Tichaona Mudzingwa of MDC-T [vacancy to be filled by an MDC-T nominee]

• 2 of these are chiefs seats:

Replacements are needed for the late Chiefs Bidi of Matabeleland South and Chimombe of Manicaland. Provincial assemblies of chiefs in these provinces have to sit as electoral colleges to replace them.

Seats that have sometimes been reported as vacant

Senator Bennett’s seat is not vacant It is a common misconception that his seat fell vacant long ago because he has been out of the country and not attending the Senate since early 2010. But his seat is not vacant, because the Senate has not voted to expel him, even though it could in theory have done so at any time since 30th March, 2011, when he had missed 21 consecutive sittings in a single Parliamentary Session.

Seats of MDC-T MPs sentenced to imprisonment are not vacant. Four MDC-T MPs were automatically suspended from the House of Assembly for long periods. This was in terms of section 42 of the Constitution, after they were convicted of offences by magistrates and sentenced to gaol terms of six months or more. All subsequently won their appeals against conviction and sentence, so their suspensions then automatically came to an end. [While suspended they were omitted from the party voting strength numbers which Veritas periodically distributed.]

There are 26 Vacant Seats Due for By-Elections

Details giving constituencies, and which party previously held these 26 seats, are set out below. To fill the vacancies the President should issue a proclamation calling by-elections. From then on the by-elections will be conducted by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC]. The Presidential proclamation will fix dates for the sittings for nomination courts and the polling days. Polling is only necessary in constituencies when two or more candidates are nominated. There may be constituencies in which only one candidate is nominated – and that person automatically gets the seat – so the actual number of constituencies in which ZEC has to oversee voting may be fewer than 26.

GPA Parties “No-Contest” Pact

In Article 21 of the GPA the three GPA political parties agreed that if and when electoral vacancies occurred during the first twelve-months of the GPA, the three parties would not field candidates against each other in the resulting by-elections. After the expiry of the twelve-month period, the principals agreed to extend this pact for the duration of the lifespan of the Inclusive Government, and President Zuma reported this agreement to the SADC Summit in August 2010. If the GPA parties honour this pact, every by-election held now would have to be either not contested or a contest between the GPA party that formerly held the seat and Independent candidates or candidates from parties outside the GPA [ZAPU, Mavambo, etc].

Is the pact legally enforceable? No. Article 20 of the GPA was not included in Constitution Amendment No. 19. It would have no force in the courts.


Breakdown by Party that Won the Seat in 2008

Reason for vacancy indicated in brackets for each constituency


Manicaland [1]

Mutare North [former incumbent Charles Pemenhayi deceased]

Mashonaland Central [4]

Bindura North [former incumbent Elliot Manyika deceased]

Guruve North [former incumbent Cletus Mabharanga deceased]

Mount Darwin East [former incumbent Betty Chikava deceased]

Shamva South [former incumbent Samuel Ziteya deceased]

Mashonaland East [1]

Marondera East [former incumbent Tracy Mutinhiri expelled from party]

Masvingo [1]

Mwenezi West [former incumbent Neddie Masukume deceased]

Midlands [1]

Gokwe-Gumunyu [former incumbent Ephrem Mushoriwa deceased]

MDC-T [5]

Bulawayo [1]

Emakhandeni Entumbane [former incumbent Cornelius Dube deceased]

Harare [1]

Mabvuku-Tafara [former incumbent Shepherd Madamombe deceased]

Manicaland [1]

Makoni Central [former incumbent John Nyamande deceased]


Gutu South [former incumbent Eliphas Mukonoweshuro deceased]

Matabeleland South

Matobo North [former incumbent Lovemore Moyo elected Speaker]

MDC [3]

Matabeleland North

Lupane East [former incumbent Njabuliso Mguni expelled from party]

Nkayi South [former incumbent Abednico Bhebhe expelled from party]

Matabeleland South

Bulilima East – former incumbent Norman Mpofu expelled from party]


Breakdown by Party that Won the Seat in 2008

Reason for vacancy indicated in brackets for each constituency


Mashonaland Central [1]

Bindura-Shamva [former incumbent Misheck Chando deceased]

Mashonaland West [2]

Chegutu [former incumbent Ednah Madzongwe elected President of Senate]

Kadoma [former incumbent Chiratidzo Gava deceased]

Masvingo [1]

Chiredzi [former incumbent Titus Maluleke appointed Provincial Governor]

Midlands [2]

Gokwe South [former incumbent Jason Machaya appointed Provincial Governor]

Mberengwa [former incumbent Richard Hove deceased]

MDC-T [4]

Bulawayo [1]

Mabutweni [former incumbent Gladys Dube deceased]

Masotsha-Ndlovu [former incumbent Enna Chitsa deceased]

Matabeleland North

Hwange [former incumbent Jabulani Ndlovu deceased]


Gweru-Chirumanzu [former incumbent Patrick Kombayi deceased]

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