Consultation with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC]
Section 144(3) of the Constitution lays down that the dates for the election must be fixed by the President “after consultation with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission”. Section 339(2) explains that this means ZEC must be afforded a reasonable opportunity to make recommendations or representations about proposed dates and that the President must give careful consideration to any such recommendations and representations although he is not obliged to follow them. The need for this consultation with ZEC is repeated in section 38(1) of the Electoral Act.
Note: The President is under no legal or constitutional obligation to consult with Cabinet. Section 110(2)(e) of the Constitution as read together with section 110(6) makes it clear that the President’s responsibility for calling elections is an executive function in the exercise of which he is not obliged to act on Cabinet advice. The President is, however, free to consult Cabinet if he wishes to.
Dissolution of the Present Parliament
It will not be for the President to dissolve Parliament, in the election proclamation or by any other means. The dissolution of Parliament will occur automatically in terms of section 143(1) of the Constitution, which provides as follows—
“Parliament stands dissolved at midnight on the day before the first polling day in the next general election called in terms of section 144”.
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