A coalition of residents associations, the Residents Coalition for Electoral Reforms (RACER) has called on the government to repeal Statutory Instrument 225A of 2020 which suspended holding of by-elections.
The Statutory Instrument also known as Public Health (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (Amendment) Regulations, 2020 (No. 4) was enacted to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement, the coalition urged the Government to stop using the Instrument as a way of suppressing civil and political rights.
“We therefore recommend the urgent repeal of Statutory Instrument 225A of 2020 which suspended by elections to allow holding of by elections, and state must desist from the use of COVID 19 containment measures as a strategy to suppress civil and political rights provided in both domestic and international law,” the Coalition said.
The associations further called on the enacting of a law that ensures participation of citizens should political parties wish to recall their members from Parliament and local authorities.
“Enacting legislation that will operationalize Section 278 (1) of the Constitution with clear mechanisms of effecting recalls which will provide for political parties to initiate the recall process while citizens endorses the recall through a referendum.Residents must go to vote in numbers and shun the voices that are discouraging people to vote in the upcoming by-elections.
“Political parties must use the by-elections to address gender disparities in terms of representation in our local authorities. ZEC must create more voter registration centres to ensure potential voters are not disenfranchised on the basis of distance while the Registrar General’s Department must ensure speedy allocation of national Identification documents,” the associations added.
The coalition urged residents to turn up in their huge numbers to elect their representatives in the local government by elections as previous by elections have experienced very low voter turnout.