The United Kingdom (UK) has expressed concern over the indefinite suspension of by-elections in Zimbabwe by the minister of Health and Child Care, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga.
Posting on Twitter in response to a report by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) which also condemned the suspensions, the UK in Zimbabwe said:
Vice President Chiwenga amended Statutory Instrument 225A of 2020 which now notes that “the holding of any by-election to fill a casual vacancy in Parliament or in a local authority is, for the duration of the period of the declaration of COVID-19 as a formidable epidemic disease, suspended, and if such vacancy occurred while such declaration is in force, no part of the period from the date of such vacancy to the date of the end of the declaration shall be counted for the purposes of section 158(3) of the Constitution.”
The suspension was also confirmed by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission which also cited the coronavirus.
Ironically, political parties have in recent weeks successfully held internal primary elections in preparation for the by-election.
Some political analysts view the move as a way to prevent the opposition MDC Alliance from replacing its members who were reCalled by the interim MDC-T leadership.