Zanu PF gears for by-elections

BY KENNETH NYANGANI

THE ruling Zanu PF party has begun preparations for by-elections, although the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) recently announced that it had indefinitely postponed elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Zanu PF has already rolled out campaigns in Manicaland province, where two candidates were chosen to represent the party in the impending elections to replace Dangamvura Chikanga MP Prosper Mutseyami and Mutasa South MP Regai Tsunga of the MDC Alliance, who were recently recalled by the rival MDC-T.

Last year, Vice-President and Health minister Constantino Chiwenga published Statutory Instrument (SI) 225A of 2020, which indefinitely postponed all by-elections citing COVID-19 fears.

However, other countries have successfully conducted elections during the COVID-19 era.

Analysts have said SI 225A of 2020 is ultra vires section 68 of the Public Health Act or sections 158 and 159 of the Constitution, as well as the Electoral Act.

Despite the ban, the Zanu PF Manicaland province is already preparing for parliamentary and local authority by-elections.

Zanu PF Manicaland chairperson Mike Madiro told a party provincial coordinating committee meeting yesterday that the party was preparing for the by-elections.

“I would like to say that we have by-elections that are coming and what is only left is for our President Emmerson Mnangagwa to declare the dates,” he said.

“In Mutasa South, people in the constituency agreed that Misheck Mugadza should represent the party as the candidate for MP in the by-elections, and in Dangamvura/Chikanga constituency, there is comrade Esau Mupfumi, who will represent the party. We gave people five months to submit their curriculum vitaes, but no one else did so.

“Unfortunately, after the five months, there are some individuals who have started giving us their CVs, but what we are saying is that we follow party direction first.”

Madiro said the ruling party was hoping to win seven wards in Mutare after seven MDC Alliance councillors were recalled by the MDC-T.

More than 40 MDC Alliance MPs and around 80 councillors lost their parliamentary and council seats after they were recalled by the MDC-T and the People’s Democratic Party led by Lucia Matibenga.

The MDC-T has since filled in more than 15 National Assembly and Senate seats that were occupied by proportional representation MPs.

Constituency seats will need to be filled in through by-elections.

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