'Stay by-elections pending Act changes'

HARARE - Election Resource Centre (ERC) has called for a stay of the forthcoming by-elections until the Electoral Act has been fully harmonised with the Zimbabwe Constitution.

President Robert Mugabe has proclaimed in the Government Gazette — March 27  as the date for the Mount Darwin West and Chirimanzu-Zibagwe by-elections.

The constituencies fell vacant following the re-appointment, of Joice Mujuru, the Mt Darwin West lawmaker as Vice President in 2013, and her subsequent replacement by Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Chirimanzu-Zibagwe MP last month.

Mugabe said aspiring candidates’ applications would be received by the Nomination Court when it sits on January 29, in terms of Section 46 of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13).

“It is the submission of the ERC that no form of election should be held until the Electoral Act fully complies with the constitution and enough time has been afforded to adequately operationalise the subsequent law,” ERC said in a statement.

ERC said in its current form, the Electoral Act did not allow for the holding of elections that meet the requirements of the new Constitution.

“The current law does not provide for the holding of any form of election that subscribes to the dictates of the provisions of the new Constitution and it is dangerously ambitious to proclaim dates for elections knowing that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), according to their own admission, cannot register voters or even extend the right to vote to all Zimbabweans, in accordance with the Constitution,” said ERC’s statement.

Although appreciating the need to proclaim by-elections dates, ERC still insisted that this had the potential to violate the supreme law of the land.

“On the one hand, the proclamation of by-election dates is in accordance with legal provisions, while on another hand, holding the same by-elections potentially violate the supreme law of the land,” the body said.

“The expectation is not that the law is changed today and polls are conducted tomorrow.”

ERC said the by-elections would disfranchise a lot of voters because those who turned 18 after 2013 elections had not yet been registered as voters and citizens who moved into the election sites could not transfer their vote and are thus disenfranchised.

“The ERC therefore calls for the full realignment of the Electoral Act in accordance with the Constitution of Zimbabwe, ensuring an exhaustive reformation of the law given noted challenges with previous election processes in Zimbabwe and adequate time for effective operationalisation of the same law before any election is conducted.”

Comments (3)

These so-called NGOs always make calls sure to be made by the MDC formations in their fear of facing ZANU PF in elections again. This country should not freeze pending harmonization of all laws with the current constitution. That is a process not an event. Please stop insulting our intelligence by pushing unwanted ideas down our minds.

ADM - 15 January 2015

Whilst at it, why not also push the idea of an electronic voting system. This allows registered voters to cast their vote from wherever they would be, without necessary having to visit their constituencies. Most countries e.g Namibia tried it and this is very convenient. Let us keep abreast with technologies.

tomasi ndofeni tohwi - 16 January 2015

necessary should read necessarily

tomasi ndofeni tohwi - 16 January 2015

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