STATEMENT ON THE SUSPENSION OF ELECTORAL ACTIVITIES BY ZEC

The MDC Alliance is concerned by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s
unconstitutional decision to indefinitely suspend electoral activities because of the
COVID-19 pandemic without regard for the Constitution, the country’s electoral laws
and respect for the citizens’ civil and political rights. We are of the firm view that
ZEC’s conduct is unlawful, unreasonable and unfair for the reasons that are set out
below:

1. The indefinite suspension of electoral activities violates section 158(3) of the
Constitution which states that elections should be conducted within 90 days
following a parliamentary or local authority vacancy. There is no provision
for the postponement of this 90-day time frame. The Chiredzi Ward 16 byelection
was indefinitely postponed by ZEC on the 25th of March 2020.
Additionally, there are five confirmed local government vacancies. Most of
them have exceeded the 90-day time frame. Accordingly, ZEC is in breach of
the Constitution. The Constitution is the supreme law and supersedes any Act
of Parliament or subsidiary legislation. ZEC has fallen foul of this binding
constitutional provision. It has not approached a court of law to correct the
anomaly in accordance with best practice as seen in other jurisdictions faced
with the same difficulty.

2. ZEC has acted unilaterally in deciding to issue a blanket indefinite
suspension of electoral activities. The electoral management body did not
consult political parties, civic society organisations or voters as would be
required by the dictates of sound administrative conduct.

3. The statement by ZEC is vague concerning which electoral activities have
been suspended. There is no clarity on the status of by-elections in local
authorities, constituency seats, proportional representation vacancies, and
legally stipulated continuous electoral activities that include voter education
and voter registration which require minimal physical interaction. With
appropriate social distancing and hygiene etiquette measures, we believe that
all these electoral activities can continue in the same way that court and
parliamentary activities have resumed, without causing a public health
disaster.

4. Notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic, electoral reforms remain
outstanding. We demand electoral reforms and the alignment of electoral
laws to the Constitution. Most urgently, consultation on the delimitation
exercise should commence forthwith.

Fadzayi Mahere
National Spokesperson