The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission((ZEC) is committed and ready to hold by-elections but is only waiting for a nod from the Health and Child Care Ministry which suspended public gatherings as part of efforts to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
This came out yesterday at a ZEC media training workshop in Chinhoyi.
Zec said there were 117 pending by-elections but that the Covid-19 pandemic had made it impossible for the body to hold elections.
ZEC deputy chairperson Mr Emmanuel Magade said the commission was ready to hold the by-elections but the current situation was unusual because of the pandemic.
“As soon as it becomes practically possible, and as soon as it becomes safe, we will hold the by-elections. We have nothing to hide as ZEC,” he said.
ZEC commissioner Dr Qubani Moyo said the delays by ZEC in holding by-elections were not deliberate.
“The current situation is that Government has put in place measures to deal with Covid-19. Elections are not the only activity affected by the pandemic. We are ready and raring to go.
“Our business is to conduct elections and if there are no elections, we become idle. This is not the first time that we have had recalls. We have had recalls of Munyaradzi Gwisayi in 2001 and we held elections. Mr Tendai Biti was recalled by Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and Mr Abednico Bhebe by the Prof Mutambara led MDC and we conducted by-elections.
” It is just that we are in a circumstance where there is an act of God and it is beyond us,” he said.
He said ZEC has also started preparing for the 2023 elections and is engaging stakeholders to educate them on the electoral process to reduce disputes.
Dr Moyo said there have always been disputes surrounding elections and these were caused by a number of issues, chief among them revolving around the electoral law and legislation.