Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Residents Pressure ZEC To Hold By-Elections


MUTARE– A coalition of residents’ associations across Zimbabwe, have appealed to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to hold by-elections to fill vacant parliamentary and local government seats created by recalls and deaths of elected officials.

In a Press Statement to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), eighteen organizations including residents associations from all major towns, said the electorate in affected constituencies and wards are effectively being sidelined from development planning due to lack of representation.

“Local authorities function more effectively and efficiently if they have the full representation of their elected councilors for each ward. Several vacancies have arisen in most local authorities following the recalls of councilors.

“This means that the electorate is being excluded from giving their input through council committees, full councils in direct conflict with the provisions of the Constitution which provide for inclusive development planning.

“As a coalition of residents’ associations, we believe that ZEC is now in a better position to conduct by-elections in hundreds of wards where the councilors were recalled by the Movement for Democratic Change- Tsvangirai in terms of Section 278 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

“Zimbabwe’s representative democracy is inadequate without the full complement of elected councilors to lead in the oversight of council’s workers, represent the electorate and make laws on behalf of the ratepayers,” read part of the statement.

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The residents grouping said the continued delay in holding by elections in local authorities had not only crippled service delivery but severely undermined deliberative democracy with no meaningful debates taking place in council chambers.

“Our representative democracy is now in intensive care because the electorate is being denied their right to choose their elected representatives. Democracy entails the full participation of the legislature as one of the key pillars of the state,” said the residents’ associations.

Edson Dube,  United Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Trust (UMRRT) programs director called for a rethink of local representation not anchored on political lines.

“There should be serious consideration that do we need to have political parties or should we vote for independent candidates that cannot be recalled,” he said.

Mutare Mayor, Councilor Blessing Tandi is on record stating that the recalls have brought council to a virtual standstill as council committees are now skeletal barely meeting a quorum of a minimum of three councilors required for the five member committees.

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