By Tafadzwa Mupfururirwa
HARARE – The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) says lifting of by elections suspension is something beyond their control , and only the prerogative of the Zimbabwean Government.
ZEC instead announced the resumption of voter registration and other related field work at the start of April but by-elections remain suspended.
In a telephone interview ZEC Commissioner Qhubani Moyo said that they do not have a specific date for the suspension lift which is beyond the electoral’s body as they can not control government.
“We do not know when government is going to lift the suspension, we do not direct government they put the ban because of the prevailing covid19 situation and we await them to lift the suspension , it will be difficult for us to say when because we do not direct government,” said Qhubani.
Electoral activities were suspended in March last year in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent resumption on ZEC activities without the holding of by elections have sparked controversy with youth and civic organizations demanding a lift on the ban.
In response to why only the voters registration was resumed and allegations that ZEC are hiding behind the COVID19 curtain , while other activities like schools , businesses have since been opened up in the country, Moyo said
“We have added particular activities which do not require contact that do not infringe on the health situation , like the voter registration , but government has said we can not have mass gatherings the process of a political campaign require mass gatherings so it has not lifted that for now, “ the ZEC Commissioner said.
He added that once government gives the green light the much anticipated by elections will resume.
“ Government gives the ban on these restrictions , our machinery is in place once government gives the go ahead as ZEC we are going to start,” said Qhubani.
Last year in October Vice President, Constantino Chiwenga, also the Minister of Health and Child Care announced that no by-elections would be held anytime soon as the country was not yet out of the woods regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.
He published Statutory Instrument (SI) 225A of 2020, Public Health COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (Amendment) Regulations, 2020 (No 4), which suspended the holding of by-elections slated for December 5, 2020.