MDC to continue boycotting by-elections

MDC to continue boycotting by-elections

THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) parties will continue boycotting by-elections for vacant legislator positions unless there is a fresh voters’ roll and the implementation of electoral and other reforms.
The MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai has already snubbed by-elections for the two constituencies of Mount Darwin West and Chirumhanzu-Zibagwe set for March 27.
The seats became vacant after former vice president Joice Mujuru and current Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa joined the presidium.
More by-elections are in the offing following the expulsion of ZANU-PF’s former secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and the party’s former chairman for Mashonaland West Temba Mliswa.
Mutasa is formerly Member of Parliament for Headlands while Mliswa was representing Hurungwe West.
Yet another by-election is in the offing after Jonathan Samukange was readmitted in ZANU-PF.
There will also be a by-election in Wedza North constituency to replace Simon Musanhu who died last year.
Mutasa and Mliswa were expelled from Parliament on Tuesday at ZANU-PF’s request, while Samkange forfeited the seat he won as an independent candidate following his re-admission into the party.
The Mudzi South legislator was booted out of ZANU-PF after he rebelled against a party directive to pull out of the 2013 election race.
He contested and won the seat.
According to the Constitution, a constituency seat becomes vacant when a Member of Parliament is expelled from the party on whose ticket he won it.
Likewise, it also falls vacant when a member joins a different party or has been independent but joins a party.
The MDC-T is adamant it will not participate in any of the by-elections.
Party spokesperson, Obert Gutu, said the MDC-T has a congress resolution that states that they will only participate in elections after electoral, media and security sector reforms have been carried out in tandem with what they have been demanding over the years.
“We are ready, willing and able to participate in any elections in Zimbabwe as long as the said reforms have been undertaken,” said Gutu.
Since the Government of National Unity which ran from 2009 to 2013, the opposition party has called for electoral reforms to ensure there was fairness and lack of bias in the way polls are run.
Among other things, the MDC is demanding a fresh voters’ roll to be availed to all parties in print and electronic form; electoral reforms allowing international observers, among other things, before they can consider participating.
The MDC-T was denied access to the electronic voter’s register for the 2013 harmonised elections and was only on the eve of the polls presented with a cumbersome hard copy roll, which they claimed was riddled with irregularities.
Jacob Mafume, spokesperson for another opposition formation, known as  the MDC Renewal Team which in 2013 was part of the MDC-T before they split last year, said his party would also boycott the polls.
“The by-elections are unconstitutional and are being held ultra vires the Constitution. They have predetermined results and it’s a mockery of the word elections to even describe them as such. The timelines of the by-elections are not being followed. So we will definitely boycott the elections and use court action to nullify the elections and push for reforms,” Mafume said.
Dumiso Dabengwa’s ZAPU is still to decide on the way forward.
The MDC-T and ZAPU have pending applications at the Constitutional Court where they made applications seeking to bar the March 27 polls from proceeding.
Other fringe political parties namely Transform Zimbabwe and the National Constitutional Assembly led by academic, Lovemore Madhuku, have indicated that they would participate in all elections.

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