Zec suspends elections

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THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has joined the endless list of companies and institutions that have suspended their activities in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) which has left over 18 000 people dead worldwide.

 

The move has affected by-elections that were scheduled to be held in ward 16 in Chiredzi on April 4 and Mzingwane by-election that was set for April 25.

Zec chief elections officer Utoile Silaigwana said the development was good for the public.

“We are working on something like that. We are doing it in the interest of the public and so far, two by-elections — the one in Chiredzi and the other in Umzingwane — will be affected,” Silaigwana said.

“We are just taking necessary measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 and if the situation normalises, then we can resume elections.”

After the Chegutu by-election held over the weekend, Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) recommended that Zec postpones elections to curb the spread of the deadly virus as there were no protective clothes and hand sanitisers on the day of elections in Chegutu.

“However, in view of the topical global pandemic Covid-19, there were no preventative measures put in place for voters, polling officials, political party agents and observers, such as hand sanitisers or water and soap to wash hands.

“At Rifle Range Polling Station, one voter refused to place his finger on the table to get his finger marked with an indelible marker, citing that it was unhealthy given the Covid-19 scare,” Zesn chairperson Andrew Makoni said.

In responding to the pandemic, the government has banned public gatherings of over 50 people and closed some of the country’s borders.

Zimbabwe recorded its first Covid-19 death on Monday afternoon when broadcaster Zororo Makamba succumbed to the disease at Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital in the capital.

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