Harare (New Ziana) – The ruling Zanu PF party on Saturday dismissed claims by the opposition that it was blocking the holding of elections to fill vacant Parliamentary and Council seats.
The country was supposed to hold parliamentary and local government by-elections before the end of the year to fill vacancies which have arisen, chiefly from the massive recalls of opposition parliamentarians and councillors.
However, the Ministry of Health and Child Care has banned the by-elections, on grounds of the risks these posed in spreading COVID-19.
Zanu PF acting secretary for information and publicity Patrick Chinamasa said it supported government’s decision to suspend by-elections on health grounds.
“As far as we are concerned, currently we hold two thirds majority in Parliament, and we do not need the opposition to pass any law or to make any constitutional amendment, so by-elections or no by-elections do not mean much to us.
“I want to make this very clear that it is wrong for the MDC factions to mislead some sections of their supporters by saying that Zanu PF is blocking by-elections. We have no interests whatsoever in these by-elections except that when the time comes we will harvest from the by-elections, we are very confident that we will harvest a good crop from the by-elections,” he said.
“We are aware that during campaigns for those elections it will be very difficult to monitor and regulate the movement of people and candidates as they campaign and that puts serious risks on our people, as such we welcome the postponement of those by-elections.”
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has already said the suspension was permissible in a democratic society in terms of section 86(2)(b) of the constitution.
Section 86(2) (b) of the Constitution states that: “The fundamental rights and freedoms set out in this chapter must be exercised reasonably and with due regard for the rights and freedoms of other persons. The purpose of the limitation; in particular whether it is necessary in the interests of defence, public safety, public order, public morality, public health, regional or town planning, or the general public interest.”
Meanwhile, Chinamasa also dismissed claims that Zanu PF was behind the splits in the opposition party.
“They split because they just fight for who gets the larger share from the colonial master’s table that is the cause and who gets to the table of the colonial master. That is the cause of the fighting, not ideological, just who gets what and who gets attention from the colonial master,” he said.