Suspending elections illegal: ERC

ERC added that suspending elections denoted a move away from the hard deadline spelt out in the Constitution.

Suspension of the harmonised elections due later this year would be a violation of Zimbabweans’ right to universal suffrage, the Election Resource Centre (ERC) has warned.

In a statement released last week, ERC said suspending the 2023 elections would also dampen the country’s democratic aspirations.

The Movement for Democratic Change Alliance and its leader Douglas Mwonzora, have filed an application at the Constitutional Court calling for the suspension of elections until the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission addresses issues raised on its delimitation report published early this year.

“Suspending elections would be a clear violation of the rights of Zimbabweans to participate in the democratic process and would be a step away from democratic accountability and has the potential to lead to political instability,” the election watchdog said.

“Elections are central to Zimbabwe’s democracy. Through elections, the fundamental right of every citizen to political participation is realised and elections guarantee the philosophical-political principle of democracy (people's power).”

ERC added that suspending elections denoted a move away from the hard deadline spelt out in the Constitution where the terms of office of elected officials end on August 26 this year.

“This is a threat to Zimbabwe’s constitutional democracy. Should the elections get suspended, this could lead Zimbabwe to legal lacuna as there is no extension provision regarding terms of office.

“Additionally, ERC would like to reiterate and make it clear that the Constitution is explicit and peremptory in that, where the delimitation report is not completed six months before an election, or where it is deemed unconstitutional, the old boundaries ought to apply for that election and does not envision a suspension of elections,” the statement read.

It further added that the Constitution makes it clear that power should be acquired only through a periodic election conducted every five years, and the term of office of elected government officers is strictly five years.

“There is no legal basis that will allow the current government to legitimately remain in power post 26 August 2023; therefore any proposed suspension of the 2023 harmonised elections poses a threat to Zimbabwe’s democracy.”


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