The Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance has criticised the MDC-T for pushing Parliament to ensure that pending by-elections are suspended indefinitely.
MDC-T leaders introduced the proposal to delay the elections in Parliament’s peace and security thematic committee last week following a presentation by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
The Douglas Mwonzora-led party claims that the COVID-19 pandemic has made the playing field uneven and the prevailing situation favours ZANU PF.
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But MDC Alliance secretary for elections Ian Makone accused the MDC-T of being motivated by a sinister agenda, saying postponing elections indefinitely will set a bad precedent. Said Makone:
There are countries, including Zambia and South Africa, that have not abandoned elections because of the pandemic.
What they have in fact done is to take measures that enable people to exercise their rights in a safe manner.
We are supportive of all efforts to curtail the pandemic, but we are also sticklers for the provisions of our own constitution.
Those advocating for postponement, I dare say, have reasons other than the pandemic and they should be exposed for what they are.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition director Blessing Vava said suspending the elections was against the country’s constitution and would plunge Zimbabwe into a constitutional crisis. He said:
What we need at the moment is to assess how other countries, namely Tanzania and Malawi, held elections under the same COVID-19 pandemic. Zambia will also be holding its elections next month.
It’s an illegal proposal pushed by those without a political base, they know they will perform badly because the moment of truth is reckoning.
They are afraid of defeat because they have been surviving politically at the mercy of the courts and the ruling party.
Solomon Bobosibunu of the Election Resource Centre (ERC) said ZEC on its own of the government through statutory instruments cannot suspend the holding of elections. He said:
Our position is that suspension or non-holding of elections cannot be done by ZEC alone neither can it be through an instruction from the executive through a statutory instrument.