This edition of the Legal Monitor spotlights how government is employing archaic tactics to thwart the holding of by-elections in Zimbabwe which has given rise to questions on why the Harare administration is intent on denying citizens their political rights at a time when some African countries have held polls in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Read on to get more on this and other issues.
Tanzania and Zambia did it,why can’t Zim do it too?
While High Court Judge Justice Siyabona Musithu reserved the ruling over holding of by- elections, questions were abound why government is intent on denying citizens their political rights at a time some African countries have held polls in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. In reserving the ruling after hearing submissions from all parties in the matter, Justice Musithu said he needed more time to go through all the submissions before handing down his verdict on the application.
#ZambiaDecides2021: Reflections from Zimbabwe
The just-ended Zambian election is proving that democracy is consolidating in the northern neighbour, following President Edgar Lungu’s conceding of defeat to president-elect Hakainde Hichilema. The election will give birth to the sixth power transfer in Zambia. It was in 1991 that a trade unionist and opposition leader, Frederick Chiluba, outpolled the big man, Kenneth “KK” Kaunda, leading to the first post-independence peaceful transfer of power. The power of that example would have not been lost on Zimbabwe’s labour movement and civil society as they birthed the biggest opposition party MDC to have challenged Zanu-PF’s rule in elections since the late 1990’s.
Voter fights for her political rights
Loice Gwangwara is a Zimbabwean citizen who resides in Marondera’s suburb of Rujeko. In 2018, she voted in Marondera Central constituency, where Caston Matewu was elected Member of Parliament. Matewu is no longer a legislator after he was recalled by a group that has taken control of the party’s parliamentary affairs. Keen to exercise her right to choose a representative for her constituency as a registered voter, Gwangwara feels the decision to freeze by-elections is disenfranchising her. Gwangwara has now approached the High Court to assert her rights. She is the sixth applicant in a case in which some Harare and Marondera residents and two organisations are challenging the suspension of the holding of by-elections on perceived public health grounds.
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Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights