Harare (New Ziana) – A Harare man, Tapera Sengweni and three others on Thursday lodged an application at the Constitutional court seeking to stop the holding of 28 National Assembly and 121 municipal by-elections later this March.
The by-elections are penciled for March 26, 2022
Other applicants in the matter are Vinnah Mbele, Edify Kudzaishe Vushoma and Phanuel Tsvanu.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa is cited as the first respondent while the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is the second respondent.
In the application, Sengweni argued that ZEC failed to hold elections within the 90- day timeframe stipulated in the constitution and that the country can’t afford the “mini-election”.
He argued that in accordance with the law, by-elections should take place not more than 90 days after a seat falls vacant yet some seats have been without a representative as way back as 2020.
“Zimbabwe held its last general harmonised election on the 31″ of July 2018 I witnessed vacancies as they occurred in the constituencies. I waited for the first respondent to proclaim dates for by elections, within the time frame set by the constitution. The first respondent failed or refused, neglected or absconded from proclaiming dates for the by elections. The time specified by Zimbabwe’s constitution came and went. The first respondent did not proclaim the by elections as mandated”, read Sengweni’s application.
He added :”As a small economy, Zimbabwe has financial challenges that are affecting the greater majority of its population. The government is struggling to pay its employees a living wage. It is not prudent to drag the country into another plebiscite whose outcome does not change the numerical configuration in any way”.
“It is my view that this mini general election proclaimed by first respondent is too expensive for Zimbabwe and needless. They are out of time anyway,” added Serengweni.
President Mnangagwa postponed the elections after the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020, which forced the government to impose lockdowns and ban gatherings.
Since then, the country has been in varying degrees of lockdowns, which entailed the majority of workers operating from home.
Only this week did the government order all its workers to return to their work stations, but some companies still insist that some of their employees work remotely.
But the lockdown, though relaxed, remains in place, as do some of precautionary measures imposed such wearing face masks in public.
It is for this reason that government said it could not risk spreading Covid-19 by holding by-elections when they became due.