Suspension of elections a threat to Zimbabwe democracy: elections watchdog

By William Milasi

An elections watchdog the Election Resource Centre (ERC) has said proposals to suspend the country’s harmonised elections are a threat to the country as elections are central to Zimbabwe’s democracy.

ERC in  a statement said that the suspension is not only a threat to the country’s democracy but will also lead the country to a legal lacuna as there is no constitutional provision regarding extension of terms of office of elected officials which officially ends on 26 August 2023.

“Elections are central to Zimbabwe’s democracy. Through elections, the fundamental right of every citizen to political participation is realised and elections guarantee the philosophical-political principle of democracy,” the statement read.

The elections watchdog further noted that that suspending elections would be a clear violation of the rights of the citizens to participate in the democratic process, “and would be a step away from democratic accountability and has the potential to lead to political instability.”

Currently, the MDC-T is pushing for the suspension of the elections with the party leader   Douglas Mwonzora approaching the Constitutional Court seeking the nullification of the Zimbabwe Electoral Delimitation Report, which he says was done procedurally.

According to the country’s constitution power should be acquired through a periodic election conducted every five years.

In addition, there is no legal basis that allows the current government to legitimately remain in power post 26 August 2023, “Therefore, any proposed suspension of the 2023 Harmonised electiosn poses a threat to Zimbabwe’s democracy.”

“Should the elections be suspended, this could lead Zimbabwe to legal lacuna as there is no extension provision regarding terms of office. Additionally, the ERC would like to reiterate and make it clear that the constitution is explicit and peremptory in that, where the delimitation report is not , completed six months before an election, or where it is deemed unconstitutional, the old boundaries ought to apply for that election and does not envision a suspension of elections,” the statement read.

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