BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) has described the swearing in of MDC-T interim leader Thokozani Khupe and 14 of her acolytes as MPs to replace recalled MDC Alliance legislators as an attack on democracy.
Khupe and her 14 allies were sworn in as MPs on Wednesday to fill 15 proportional representation (PR) seats left vacant after she recalled 32 legislators and 165 councillors elected on an MDC Alliance ticket.
The swearing in came after the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) confirmed the list of nominees submitted by Khupe’s party to replace the 15 PR MPs, disregarding a High Court application filed by a Kwekwe resident, Charles Madhiwa, seeking an interdict order.
The human rights lobby group said the swearing in of Khupe violated the electorate’s choice.
“ZimRights distaste the imposition of leaders, some who were rejected by the electorate in 2018 and call on the ‘fake’ representatives to step down and allow the will of the people to prevail,” the rights lobby group said in a statement yesterday.
The rights lobby group also castigated Health minister, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga for suspending by-elections under the guise of enforcing COVID-19 control measures.
“Elections are supposed to replace the recalled MDC Alliance members and those that have passed on,” ZimRights said.
“The Constitution of Zimbabwe in chapter 4 section 67 accords citizens the right to vote and choose political representatives of their choice. It is shocking that institutions mandated to respect and implement the Constitution are now on the forefront of abrogating and tearing apart the very same Constitution which brought them into existence.”
Chiwenga last week suspended the holding of by-elections to fill vacant seats in Parliament and councils citing the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What is even more shocking is that while by-elections have been suspended, the ruling party is proceeding to prepare for elections as evidenced by ongoing primary elections. ZimRights, therefore, does not understand why the electorate can be forced to continue without representatives because of COVID-19 while other gatherings have been allowed,” the rights body said.