Auxilia Katongomara, Chronicle Reporter
GOVERNMENT will announce an inauguration date for President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa when it becomes clear that there is no contestation of the result in court, Presidential spokesperson Mr George Charamba said yesterday.
This dispels social media messages that the President-elect would be sworn in today at the National Sports Stadium, a claim that is in direct violation of the Constitution.
The President-elect won 50,8 percent of votes cast in the July 30 harmonised poll while Mr Nelson Chamisa of the MDC-Alliance, who has indicated that he will challenge the election outcome in court, garnered 44, 3 percent.
In an interview yesterday, Mr Charamba said the Government follows the law.
“Government does not announce its programmes through the social media. If the date has been set we will announce. How do you know that there won’t be a challenge to the results? We wait for the seven days to lapse, if there is no legal challenge to the result, then naturally we will announce the date,” said Mr Charamba.
The false social media messages have been believed by some Zimbabweans not privy to the dictates of the Constitution on the assumption of office by a President as well as other provisions that may delay the inauguration of a President in the event of an election challenge by other candidates.
Section 93 of the Constitution states that any aggrieved presidential candidate may challenge the validity of an election by lodging a petition or application with the Constitutional Court within seven days after the date of the declaration of the results of the election.
“The Constitutional Court must hear and determine a petition or application under subsection (1) within 14 days after the petition or application was lodged, and the court’s decision is final,” reads Section 93 (3).
The Constitution states that in determining a petition or application the Constitutional Court may declare a winner or invalidate the election in which case a fresh election must be held within 60 days after such a determination.
The supreme law of the land says in the event that there is no court challenge, a president-elect must take an oath on the ninth day after being declared the winner.
It also says in the event of a court challenge, a president-elect must be sworn in within 48 hours after the Constitutional Court has declared him or her to be the winner.
Constitutional lawyer Professor Lovemore Madhuku said the Cabinet continues to carry out its duties before new ministers are sworn in.
“For the President there is one way of leaving office but for ministers there are two circumstances. If a new president is sworn into office who is different from the president who appointed them, they immediately cease to hold office. But if the person who is sworn into office is the same person who was president before, then ministers do not lose their office until he appoints a new Cabinet,” he said.