ZEC to conduct by-elections after lockdown is relaxed
Harare, (New Ziana) –The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said on Tuesday by-elections for vacant constituencies and wards will be held after the government has relaxed lockdown restrictions.
The assurance follows an outcry mainly from the opposition that the electoral body was strangling democracy by suspending the holding of elections.
But ZEC said the “suspension of by-elections and other electoral activities was done in compliance with executive Presidential powers invoked as a result of a global pandemic recognised by the law as An Act of God.”
Zimbabwe has since March 30 undergone different levels of Covid-19 lockdown that are aimed at curbing the spread of the deadly virus.
Besides restricting the movement of citizens, the government has prohibited gatherings of over 50 people.
As of June 15, the country had recorded 387 confirmed Covid-19 infections, 54 recoveries and 4 deaths.
ZEC urged stakeholders to be patient as it was working on a draft policy that would guide the conduct of elections in the Covid-19 era.
“Again it should be noted that by-elections were suspended and not postponed which means that they will be conducted when lockdown restrictions have been relaxed to allow such activities to resume
without posing danger to the health of those involved,” the electoral body said.
“The Commission would like to advise its stakeholders to be patient while it finalises a draft on the Covid19 Electoral Practice Policy that will guide electoral staff, the electorate and other stakeholders on how to conduct themselves before, during and after electoral processes to avoid contracting the novel Coronavirus.”
A number of seats have fallen vacant following either the death or recall of incumbent Parliamentarians and councilors.