Speaking in Parliament in response to a contribution by Dzivaresekwa legislator Edwin Mushoriwa that Zimbabwe was denying its citizens of their democratic right by not holding by-elections, when there were so many vacancies, Ziyambi said: “We made a resolution as a country that we need to fight COVID-19 and our main thrust is, let us reach herd immunity as early as possible. So, what we have tried to do as a country is to mobilise our resources to procuring vaccines to make sure that Zimbabweans are safe.
“You do not vote when you are dead. You do not exercise your democratic rights when you are dead. What we are trying to do is, we have a state of public works emergency. We have this thrust; we must ensure that Zimbabweans are protected.”
There are several vacancies in Parliament and in councils following the recall of Movement for Democratic Alliance legislators by the MDC-Tsvangirai.
Zimbabwe intends to vaccinate 10 million people by the end of the year to reach herd immunity but as of yesterday only 671 155 had been fully vaccinated but 1 400 905 had received the first dose.
REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2020
Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the report of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for the year 2020.
Question again proposed.
HON. MUSHORIWA: The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is an integral commission in terms of the industry running the affairs in the country. If you check the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Report of 2020 and then you check its mandate and what it is supposed to do, you will realise that there are a lot of gaps that need to be filled.
Firstly, it is agreed and understood that we are under COVID and that COVID is affecting a number of ways and things that we normally do as a country and probably the world over. There is also an issue that we need to mirror, put in terms of human rights – the rights of the citizens of a country, their democratic right that needs to be exercised. You will understand and also know that in the year 2020, other countries that have also been affected by COVID have had a chance to exercise their democratic right in terms of general elections in Africa and outside Africa and also by-elections and other electoral activities.
What we have discovered is that in Zimbabwe in the year 2020, there have been very few or no activities. You will realise that even registration of new voters, ZEC has done very little and even in terms of their work at provincial level, it has been very minimal. You will realise that even in terms of funding, they have actually been complaining that the funding level has been too low to an extent that ZEC has actually, in my view, been operating just like a shell in 2020. As we speak right now, we have got numerous vacancies in the House and a number of constituencies do not have Members of Parliament. A number of wards in this country do not have councillors. By-elections and representation is the key ingredient in a democratic society. There is an adage that says that there is no taxation without representation.
When you have more than 20% of the country not being represented and you have an Electoral Commission that is supposed to do its work, then you put the democratic ethos of a country in jeopardy. In my view, I believe that as a country we need to ensure and allow ZEC to do its work to make sure that it is properly funded and that it is given all the resources so that it can play a significant role in this country. We do not want to have a situation where other people will then tend to view the electoral commission as a commission in handcuffs. It appears as if it is doing the bidding of other people rather than the mandate which it was given by the Constitution and the people of Zimbabwe.
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