Thursday, 8 October 2020

BY-ELECTIONS SUSPENSION LEGAL, SAYS ZEC

The prolonged suspension of by-elections in the country on health safety grounds by the government is permissible in a democratic society as it is supported by provisions of the Constitution, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has said. 

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. 

ZEC chief elections officer Utoile Silaigwana, said: “The prolonged suspension of by-elections owing to the prevalence of the Covid-19 pandemic is a response to public health concerns and 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.” 

But Silaigwana said all other electoral activities remained open. 

“The commission would like to advise its stakeholders that its district and provincial offices will be open for all other electoral activities such as voter registration, voter education, voters’ roll inspection, registration transfer, preliminary delimitation issues,” he said. New Ziana


 

 

 

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