THE government has ruled out the holding of by-elections this year due to coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions, the Daily News reports.
This comes as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has set December 5 as a possible date for local authorities and National Assembly by-elections.
In an interview with the Daily News yesterday, Parliamentary Affairs minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said it is not possible to have by-elections this year.
“We are still waiting for the president to proclaim the by-election dates. I don’t think it’s practical for us to have elections this year because we are not out of the (Covid-19) woods.
Asked about Zec’s proposal that by-elections must take place in December, Ziyambi said: “I don’t know where they are getting the dates because the president is the one who proclaims the dates. We need to remain vigilant in our fight against coronavirus (Covid-19).
“It will not be proper to have elections because the disease will spread during campaigning. We are still fighting this pandemic and it’s too early for us to talk about elections because measures to fight Covid-19 are still in place,” Ziyambi said.
Speaking at a meeting organised by the Election Resource Centre (ERC) recently, Zec chairperson Priscilla Chigumba said that the Nomination Court is set for October 23.
“On 9 October, we are going to issue a notice that the Nomination Court will sit; the nomination is proposed to sit on 23 October. We are looking at the possible date of all the by-elections for 5 December,” Chigumba said.
Chigumba said they were looking for a supplementary budget of US$18 million for the by-elections.
The Thokozani Khupe-led MDC-T has recalled 21 MPs aligned to the rival faction headed by Nelson Chamisa.
It has also recalled dozens of councillors as the senseless bloodletting in the opposition ranks rages on.
Last week, the Khupe camp resolved to recall over 38 legislators and thousands of councillors across the country.
All this comes as Khupe and Chamisa have been involved in a hammer and tongs tussle for control of the country’s biggest opposition party amid warnings from political analysts that the divided opposition will find it exceedingly difficult to compete against Zanu PF in the fast-approaching 2023 national elections.
The party’s infighting went a notch up after the Supreme Court judgment earlier this year which upheld last year’s ruling by the High Court that nullified Chamisa’s ascendancy to the leadership of the country’s biggest opposition party.
MDC Alliance vice president Tendai Biti and newly-elected Harare mayor Jacob Mafume recently became latest targets of the recalls that are decimating the Chamisa-led party after a faction of the People’s Democratic Party that is led by Lucia Matibenga wanted to recall the two ostensibly because they had ceased being members of the party.
Last Thursday the High Court granted Mafume, Arnold Dube and Simon Chabuka an order interdicting Local
Government minister July Moyo from recalling them.