GOVERNMENT’S bid to cancel by-elections and have political parties choose a replacement in the event a legislator is recalled from Parliament or dies should be rejected with vehemence. It is surely not an excuse to claim empty coffers when democratic culture and practice demands that elections should be held whenever they are due.

NewsDay Comment

Quite clearly, this may just be a smokescreen to get MDC-T acting leader Thokozani Khupe and her supporters into Parliament through the backdoor given that she appears to have really warmed up to the Zanu PF government after going her separate ways with her erstwhile comrades in the opposition MDC Alliance.

Zimbabweans are too educated to be duped by failed rhumba musician-cum-Information deputy minister Energy Mutodi that it was public sentiment that they should do away with the by-elections.

In fact, even if that was the case, governance should be determined by the Constitution of the country rather than the so-called popular public sentiment.

Khupe, on the other hand, has really shown her true colours through her naked hunger for power as she is reportedly keen to ease her way into Parliament and possibly become leader of the opposition in the National Assembly.

What is clear is that the Zanu PF establishment has been using every means possible to thwart MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa’s bid for the presidency, and the proposed bid to cancel by-elections is the latest battle in that vicious war.

The opposition should categorically refuse to be subdued in that manner and insist that all the outstanding by-elections go ahead as per tradition and as provided for in the Constitution and electoral law. To say that there is no money is a flimsy excuse that does not justify the cancellation of by-elections.

Any parliamentary vacancy that arises should be filled through a by-election and all institutions mandated to run elections should continue to do so. The only acceptable reason why by-elections may not be held now is the coronavirus outbreak. Any other justification must be trashed.

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