Sunday, November 28, 2021
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Residents’ organisations pressure Zec for by-elections


TellZim Reporter

A total
of 21 residents’ associations and organisations coalescing under the banner
Coalition of Residents’ Associations has called on the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (Zec) to conduct by-elections for both national assembly and local
authority vacancies.

After a
number of legislators were recalled by their political parties chiefly the
MDC-T, Zec is expected to hold a total of 25 national assembly and 79 local
authority by-elections.

In a statement, the Coalition of
Resident’s Associations said the country’s representative democracy was now in
intensive care because the electorate was being denied their right to choose
their representatives.

“As a coalition of residents’ associations,
we believe that ZEC is now in a better position to conduct by-elections in
hundreds of wards where the councillors were recalled by the Movement for
Democratic Change- Tsvangirai in terms of Section 278 (1) of the Constitution
of Zimbabwe.

“Legislative authority derives from the
people and is exercised in terms of the Constitution (Section 117) by the
legislature. All citizens should have equal voice and representation in

“A weakened Parliament cannot fully
exercise its role of holding agencies of state and government to account in
accordance with Section 119 of the Constitution. Local authorities function
more effectively and efficiently if they have the full representation of their
elected councillors for each ward.

“Several vacancies have arisen in most
local authorities following the recalls of councillors. This means that the
electorate is being excluded from giving their input through council
committees, full councils in direct conflict with the provisions of the
Constitution which provide for inclusive development planning,” reads the

The residents’ organization say that the
continuous delay in conducting by-elections has been retrogressive at both
parliamentary and local authority levels as service delivery has taken a huge

“Zimbabwe’s representative democracy is
inadequate without the full complement of elected councillors to lead in the
oversight of council’s workers, represent the electorate and make laws on
behalf of the ratepayers.

“The continued delay in holding by
elections in our local authorities has not only crippled service delivery but
it has also severely undermined deliberative democracy with no meaningful
debates taking place in council chambers. Our representative democracy is now
in intensive care because the electorate is being denied their right to choose
their elected representatives.

“In view of these shortcomings, it is
necessary and prudent that ZEC does everything in its power to uphold their
constitutional mandate and facilitate the holding of by-elections in under the
permissible COVID-19 regulations as approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO)
and Ministry of Health and Child Care.

“Democracy entails the full participation
of the legislature as one of the key pillars of the state. The other pillars
being the judiciary and the executive. Therefore, with low representation of
the electorate in parliament, even the Constituency Development Fund, which is
administered by Members of Parliament will not be utilised. The electorate in
the disadvantaged constituencies deserve a fair share of the national
resources,” reads the statement.

Political parties have been warned
against wantonly recalling of elected members with the residents’ organisations
saying there are a lot of factors which should be considered before elected
officials are recalled from office.

“As for the recalls themselves we urge
political parties to be mindful of section 3(2)(f) of the Constitution which
states that: “respect for the people of Zimbabwe from whom the authority
to govern is derived” in their zeal to implement the controversial
sections 129 and 278 (1) that recalls
 councillors and MPs.
The political party ticket is just but one of many reasons for which citizens
elect local representatives.

 Citizen participation
in the affairs of their local authorities is what deepens and strengthens our
local government sector as the lowest tier of government in Zimbabwe. The
residents as voters participate in the electoral process through the selection
of their Councillors and their MPs who will play the role of policy and
lawmaking, representative and oversight over council workers when elected into

“From a human rights perspective,
citizens anchor all democratic processes, and any government institution
derives its mandate from the involvement of the citizens. Therefore, it is
urgent that by-elections are held in all affected local authorities where there
are vacancies,” reads the statement.

TellZim News is the leading news organization in the Southern region. It provides candid, balanced and timely news from the communities. Keeping it real. Committed to tell Zimbabwe.

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