The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) says it is ready to call for by-elections as soon as the lockdown imposed by the government to curb the spread of the coronavirus is lifted.
ZEC chief elections officer Utoile Silaigwana confirmed that the electoral body has been notified that there are four vacancies in Parliament. He said:
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I can confirm that yesterday (Thursday) we received the notification of the four vacancies that have arisen in Parliament.
We will go ahead and call for a by-election when the time arises because currently all pending by-elections have been suspended in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The vacancies arose after reinstated MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora recalled four MDC Alliance MPs, namely Charlton Hwende, Prosper Mutseyami, Tabitha Khumalo and Midlands Senator Lilian Timveous.
Mwonzora derived his powers to recall another party’s MPs after the Supreme Court controversially ruled, in April this year, that Thokozani Khupe assumes the party’s presidency even though the term of office of officials who were elected at the 2014 Congress had expired in October 2019.
In the 2018 elections, Zanu-PF won 145 seats of the 210 contested seats in the National Assembly, the MDC-A had 63, while two of the remaining seats were won by the National Patriotic Front and an independent candidate.
The remaining 120 seats that were apportioned for the Women’s Quota and Senate, with 35 seats allocated to Zanu-PF, 24 to MDC-A and one for MDC-T.
Twenty of the remaining seats were reserved for chiefs (18) and people living with disabilities (two) to complete the cumulative 350 seats in Parliament.