THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) says it is malicious and untrue to suggest that the suspension of electoral activities is meant to benefit or disadvantage any particular faction in the battle for control of opposition politics between Thokozani Khupe and Nelson Chamisa.
ZEC recently announced the suspension of by-elections and all electoral activities that require gatherings, saying the national lockdown measures do not allow political players to campaign while ZEC itself can also not do voter registration under the present circumstances.
Zimbabwe is in the middle of a level 2 lockdown which is indefinite and may be reviewed subject to circumstances.
“The suspension of electoral activities that require any outreach programmes for our staff remain suspended during this phase of national lockdown,” ZEC Commissioner Dr Qhubani Moyo said in response to a question posed by a Zimbabwe Voice journalist.
“This notice is a review of a suspension that was made in early April when lockdown started and before that was any recall of some of its MPs by MDC-T .Any insinuation that this is meant to aid any of the MDC formations in any form is untrue.”
Moyo reiterated that “any electoral activity that requires us to go out to public spaces remain suspended.
“Any electoral activity that can be done from our offices can be done. As such electoral vacancies requiring no election e.g replacement of proportional representation MPs can be done.”
The statement means that the MDC led by Thokozani Khupe can replace legislators from the proportional representation category, as she sets off on reasserting her control of the MDC following the Supreme Court judgment in March.
Dr. Moyo said the suspension of electoral activities was not peculiar to Zimbabwe alone as this was an administrative decision informed by global circumstances.
“The current lockdown requirements do not allow any political gatherings and as such how do parties campaign? How do we do voter education? etc.
“It is only those finding faults in everything who want to create a hullabaloo out of a purely administrative process. For the record, ZEC has no side or any interest in the internal fights of the MDC formations or of any other political parties,” said Dr. Moyo.
The suspension of electoral activities citing COVID-19 regulations came after Khupe has recalled four MDC Alliance MPs following a Supreme Court ruling declaring her the acting leader of the MDC-T.
In a statement to the media, ZEC chief elections officer Utoile Silaigwana said the suspension of elections was done in accordance with the COVID-19 measures announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to curb the spread of the pandemic.
“Following the suspension of all electoral activities by Zec in response to measures announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent review of the level one lockdown to level two, the commission will conduct activities that do not violate lockdown measures using skeletal staff,” Silaigwana said.
He also disclosed that they were working on an electoral policy that would consider filling vacant constituencies with party nominees according to proportional representation.
“We could not continue having gatherings of people and we cannot do elections remotely, so we are looking at policy changes to accommodate post-filling just like what is done on proportional representations and senatorial positions,” Silaigwana said.
His statements have drawn protestations from the MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa, which contends that not holding by-elections would hand over seats to Khupe on a silver platter. – Zimbabwe Voice