Alex Tawanda Magaisa, a law lecturer in the United Kingdom has said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) should feel ashamed for endorsing the indefinite suspension of by-elections in the country.
ZEC had confirmed the ban on by-elections by the Health minister Vice President Constantino Chiwenga who cited the coronavirus as the reason for blocking the elections.
Magaisa speaks after the Speaker of Pariament, Advocate Jacob Mudenda announced that SI225A of 2020 which suspended elections was yet to get the approval of the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC).
In his previous Big Saturday Read (BSR), Magaisa argued that the SI was illegal because it was in violation of sections 134 and 158(3) of the Constitution.
He observed in this week’s edition of his BSR, that Mudenda’s submission humiliates ZEC which did not challenge the suspension of by-elections. Magaisa added:
…An independent body exercising its mind professionally would have told the government that SI225/20 was illegal, whatever the other considerations that the government had in mind. Yet ZEC offered no resistance whatsoever. It feebly succumbed to the directions from the Minister of Health and Child Care.
Regrettably, ZEC lacks the mettle to defend its autonomy. ZEC had already shown that it was preparing to hold COVID19-compliant by-elections. It knows that many other countries have readjusted their electoral systems to be COVID19 compliant. ZEC had taken similar steps. But as soon as the Health Minister announced his decree, ZEC promptly changed its tune and began to defend the suspension of by-elections.
He said the conduct of the election management body suggests that Zimbabwean elections will never be credible any time soon since ZEC can be easily manipulated by the ruling ZANU PF.
Magaisa’s remarks come amid a prolonged stand-off between ZANU PF and MDC Alliance over ZANU PF’s alleged election rigging in 2018.