Home Politics Election watchdog urges government to conduct by-elections

Election watchdog urges government to conduct by-elections

by Kudakwashe Vhenge

By Staff Reporter

Election Resource Centre (ERC) has urged the government through the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) to conduct by-elections in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This comes after government halted all activities in the country including the elections.

However, ERC has indicated that continuous failure to run the elections is unconstitutional and infringes citizens’ rights.

Speaking to Bustop TV, ERC senior programs officer, Solomon Bobosibunu said World Health Organization (WHO), Ministry of Health and the government have put in place amendments that activities may be conducted.

“It is possible to conduct elections during this pandemic. Responsible authorities such as the WHO, Ministry of Health and government have set out perimeters within which activities could actually take place, though these activities might not necessarily be elections.

“Broader activities such as manufacturing, government activities are taking place and different organizations are operating because there are protocols that have been put in place,” he said.

Bobosibunu also said it is citizen’s right to vote despite the prevailing pandemic since there is a policy on conducting elections during the novel coronavirus.

“In this case, in regard to elections, there is a policy on conducting electoral process during COVID times and that process could actually be implemented,” he added.

He also highlighted that responsible authorities together with ZEC should adhere to the Covid-19 international policy regulations on elections.

Furthermore, ERC stressed that government should also assure the electoral commission has adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) in order to conduct the elections.

“Government must ensure that electoral commission is well resourced with PPEs to undertake these elections. They must also enforce policies and protocols to prevent and contain COVID-19.

“They must make sure that all WHO guidelines such as social distancing, sanitation are observed. People should not use the same pen to mark the ballot paper,” he revealed.

ERC also urged the police force, judiciary system, electoral commission and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) to co-operate in this activity.

In addition, Bobosibunu expressed that countries such as Malawi, Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania have conducted their elections in the middle of this pandemic and the Zimbabwean government could follow the suit.

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