MDC Alliance Fumes Over Suspension of By-Elections

Opposition MDC Alliance has called for the repeal of Statutory Instrument 225 of 2020 that led to the indefinite suspension of by-elections by the government citing it a violation of the people’s will.

Early this month the Minister of Health, Constantino Chiwenga published Statutory Instrument 225 of 2020 which indefinitely suspended the holding of by-elections in the country until Covid-19 ceased to be a threat in the country.

By-elections were supposed to be held on December 5 following the wanton recalls of legislators and councilors by the Thokozani Khupe led MDC-T.

In a statement, MDC Alliance secretary for elections Ian Makone said constitutional imperative cannot be overturned by a subsidiary legislation as the Constitution is the supreme law.

“The MDC Alliance is deeply concerned with the unconstitutionality of the decision to suspend by-elections. Section 159 of the Constitution requires vacant elective public offices to be filled with ninety (90) days.

“This constitutional imperative cannot be overturned by a subsidiary legislation as the Constitution is the supreme law. The effective banning of elections follows the unlawful recalls of elected representatives from Parliament and local Government. The will of the people continues to be violated by the illegitimate regime of Mr. Mnangagwa.” said Makone

He said there was no justification in banning by-elections at a time Covid-19 restrictions are being eased across the country.

“We are of the firm view that it is grossly unreasonable to ban by-elections when Covid-19 restrictions continue to be eased throughout the country. Various electoral activities are taking place such as internal party elections by Zanu PF and extra ordinary congresses by other parties. In the circumstances, there is no justification for the ban.” he said

Makone said the ban further infringes upon the independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) therefore SI 225 of 2020 should be repealed.

“We are further concerned that the suspension of by-elections infringes upon the independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. ZEC has a constitutional duty to formulate electoral policies without the direction or control of anyone as set out in section 235 of the Constitution.

“The actions of the Minister of Health only serve to undermine ZEC’s independence and to use the excuse of Covid-19 to take away the right to citizens to vote and be represented by people of their choosing in Parliament. The MDC Alliance calls for the urgent repeal of SI 225 of 2020 and for comprehensive electoral reforms that pave way for credible elections in accordance with the Constitution.” Makone said.

MDC AllianceMinistry of HealthZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission)

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