The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) notes with concern the attack on democracy and violation of the electorate’s choice through the swearing in of the “Fake” members of Parliament and senators on 07 October 2020.
Fifteen MDC T members were sworn in as members of Parliament and senators to replace those in the MDC Alliance proportional representation and Senators who were recalled following factional fights in the main opposition party.
The National Assembly proportional representatives reserved for women are filled from party lists based on the proportion of votes party candidates for constituencies garnered in the last general election. It is based on this, that ZimRights feels saddened that in 2018, the electorate voted for the candidates under MDC Alliance despite that there was a choice on the ballot. It is therefore unfathomable that Dr Thokozani Khupe who ironically fielded her own candidates against the recalled MPs in the 2018 elections and garnered about 45 000 votes has been brought back as the leader of the opposition through a supreme court ruling which conferred her legitimacy in the acting capacity.
The Vacant Constituency seats in the National Assembly are filled in through by-elections which also were suspended by the Minister of Health through Statutory Instrument (S.I) 225A of 2020, another attack on democracy. Vice President Constantino Chiwenga who doubles as the health Minister said that by-elections which were slated for December will be suspended in terms of section 68 of the Public Health Act (Chapter 15:17).
This attempt to stifle democracy and interfere in the operations and functions of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission undermines democracy. The elections are supposed to replace the recalled MDC Alliance members and those that have passed on. 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 and disgusting that institutions mandated to respect and implement the constitution are now on the fore front of abrogating and tearing apart the very same constitution which brought them into existence.
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.
ZimRights distaste the imposition of leaders some who were rejected by the electorate in 2018 and calls on the “fake” representatives to step down and allow the will of the people to prevail. Parliament of Zimbabwe is not a heaven of political losers and “fake” representatives.
ZimRights also reminds government and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission of section 159 of the Constitution that states: Whenever a vacancy occurs in any elective public office established in terms of this constitution, the authority charged with organising elections to that body must cause an election to be held within ninety days.
ZimRights is clear on its position that as a young democracy, Zimbabweans should choose their own representatives as per the provision of the constitution and that the will of the people should be respected.
ZimRights also calls on the main opposition party, MDC, to stop politicking and the factional fights that have seen the sacking of representatives chosen by the citizens.