The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has published the following statement in which they clarified the suspension of by-elections and said they will only be conducted when the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic has completely vanished.
ZEC also said the filling of the proportional representation in parliament that saw Thokozani Khupe and her allies being sworn in in parliament yesterday after she recalled the MPs she replaced, did not receive any valid objections.
Read the statement below:
Further Suspension of By-Elections The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) would like to Inform the public that, while it has lifted the suspen-sion placed on the conduct of electoral activities which it had put In place as a measure to curb the spread of CovId-19, it Is important for It to heed advice from the necessary authorities and take the necessary precau-tions to avoid the spread of the virus. The Commission thus advises that the holding of by-elections remains suspended in line with the Public Health (Covid-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (Amendment) Regulations, 2020 (No. 4) being S.I. 225A of 2020, until the declaration of Ccrvid-19 as a formidable pandemic has been lifted. Please be advised that the conduct of other electoral activities will resume in line with the Ministry of Health and Child Care protocols as well as the guidelines established by the Commission on saniti-zadon, wearing of face masks and social distancing.
The prolonged suspension of by-elections owing to the prevalence of the Covid-19 pandemic Is a response to public health concerns and permissible in a democratic society in terms of Section 136(2)(b) of the Constitution.
The Commission notes that there have been reports suggesting that It had set dates for the conduct of Parlia-mentary by-elections and would like to correct this misconception. The fixing of dates for the conduct of by-elections is, In terms of section 39(2) of the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:131, done by the President through a no-tice published in the Govemment Gazette. In doing so the President may consult the Commission on possible dates for the conduct of such elections. Any suggestions that the Commission had ruted the date for the con-duct of by-elections are thus erroneous, and proposals made by the Commission on possible suitable dates should not be construed as the actual fixing of by-elections dates.
Regarding the filling in of Proportional Representation (PR) seats, the Commission received several objections but found that there were no valid grounds for objecting to the list of submitted candidates. The Commission therefore, proc.ed to publish a notice in the Gazette confirming the nominations as provided for in section 39(7)(a)of the Electoral A.
The Commission would like to advise Its stakeholders that Its district and provincial offices will be open for all other electoral activities such as:
Voter registration Voter education Voters’ roll inspection Registration transfer Prellmthary delimitation Issues
ZEC would like to sincerely thank all its stakeholders for exercising patience and understanding in the face of the global pandemic which Is an Act of God.
Chief Elections Officer
ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION