President Robert Mugabe has set 27 March as the by-election date to fill the Mt Darwin West and Chirumanzu-Zibagwe seats which fell vacant when Joice Mujuru and Emmerson Mnangagwa were appointed vice-presidents, should the elections be necessary. Mujuru has since lost her post when she fell out of favour with Mugabe and is now an ordinary member of the party after failing to make it to the party’s central committee. Mugabe set the date for nominations as 29 January, just over two weeks from now. The elections will be a crucial test for the new Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front administration ushered at the party congress in December as it will demonstrate whether it really has grassroots support or not. It will also test whether those fired from the party intend to go it alone. Crucially, it will also test whether the opposition has gained any ground following the spat within ZANU-PF.