Opposition Party Pushes For By-Elections
Opposition outfit, Ideas Party of Democracy (IPD) has taken the government and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to open up the space for by-elections following a ban on all election-related activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last September, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga who also doubles as the Health Minister suspended by-elections under Statutory Instrument 225 of 2020 which indefinitely banned the holding of all by-elections claiming that it was a precautionary measure to contain the spread of coronavirus, a decision that was also endorsed by ZEC.
According to the country’s Constitution, vacancies in Parliament and local authorities must be filled within 90 days.
In a statement, IPD said the banning of by-elections makes it difficult for people to exercise their democratic right to choose their leader.
“IPD has noted with concern that Zanu-PF, MDC and ZEC have deliberately made it hard for by-elections to be done in Zimbabwe. Our constitution is very clear when it comes to how elections are supposed to be done after a recall,” the statement reads.
The suspension of the by-elections come when over 80 MDC Alliance legislators and councillors were been recalled by Parliament and local authorities by the MDC-T and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on charges they were no longer members of their respective parties.
Other MPs, councillors from both the MDC and Zanu-PF have been died due to natural causes.
IPD blamed Zanu-PF and MDC-Alliance for being too scared of going to the polls hence sabotaging the decision to have them back.
“ZEC is silent about the by-elections, the ruling party and MDC are not ready for elections hence they are buying time.
“It is our democratic rights as citizens to have representatives in Parliament but the government is literally turning their back on this matter and take our rights to the dogs. We, therefore call for the implementation and respect of the rule of law and our constitution,” IPD said.
Calls to have lockdown regulations lifted so as to allow the holding of by-elections have been gathering momentum with elections watchdog, Election Resource Centre chiding government over its decision to withhold the ban.