Sharon Chikwanha/Edson Mapani/Harzel Mushayabasa
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has extended the suspension of holding of bi-elections while waiting for further guidance from government.
In a statement, ZEC elections officer Utoile Silaigwana said the commission would be guided by Zimbabwe’s legal framework governing the conduction of elections.
The legal frameworks include the Constitution, Electoral Act and the Referendum Act which all have a bearing on the conducting of elections.
“It is also pertinent to note that while the Constitution enshrines the fundamental rights and freedoms for citizens which include, the right to elect leaders of their own choice, there are also limits imposed to such rights.”
Silaigwana said the suspension of the by- election has been necessitated by the need to preserve public health and safety in the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Section 86 of the Constitution, limits freedoms in the interest of public safety, public health and the general interest of the public,” he said.
ZEC suspended all electoral activities during the greater part of last year in keeping with the lockdown measures promulgated by the Ministry of Health and Child Care in a bid to curtail the spread of the pandemic.
Subsequent Statutory Instruments were also introduced to stop COVID-19.
There have been growing calls for by elections to be conducted particularly in light of the recalls from the parliament of opposition party legislators and councillors.