Zimbabwe electoral commission ZEC is reportedly considering options to safely resume by-elections in the wake of the indefinite lockdown imposed by the government to curb spreading COVID-19, The Sunday Mail reports.
This was revealed by ZEC chief elections officer Mr Utoile Silaigwana who said this to the publication:
Section 239 (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe requires ZEC to prepare for conduct and supervise elections, and to ensure that those elections are conducted efficiently, freely, fairly, transparently and in accordance with the law.
Given the concerns over the Covid-19 pandemic and the declarations made by the President (Emmerson Mnangagwa), it was not possible for ZEC to conduct free, fair and transparent elections which guaranteed the political rights envisioned in Section 67 of the Constitution.
ZEC accedes that there is no explicit provision in the law which grants it powers to suspend or postpone elections, but the decision was made in the public interest to ensure the upholding of public safety and public health as envisioned in Section 86 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
The Commission is operational and currently working flat out to craft a policy that will protect voters and staff from contracting Covid-19 while upholding their constitutional rights.
Before he was fired, Goromonzi West Legislator Energy Mutodi had said the government was considering scrapping by-elections and replacing legislators with party nominees.
More: The Sunday Mail