By Staff Reporter
The Election Resource Centre (ERC), a local election advocacy group, has cautioned that suspending the upcoming harmonized elections in Zimbabwe would violate the constitution and jeopardize constitutional democracy.
This follows calls by some opposition political parties to halt the polls due to alleged flaws in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) delimitation report.
In a statement, the ERC stated that suspending the elections would undermine democratic accountability and violate the rights of Zimbabweans to participate in the democratic process.
“Suspending elections would be a clear violation of the rights of Zimbabweans to participate in the democratic process and would be a step away from democratic accountability and has the potential to lead to political instability.
“Suspending elections denotes a move away from the hard deadline spelled out in the Constitution where the terms of office of elected officials end on 26 August 2023. This is a threat to Zimbabwe’s constitutional democracy. Should the elections get suspended, this could lead Zimbabwe to legal lacuna as there is no extension provision regarding terms of office.
“Additionally, the ERC would like to reiterate and make it clear that the Constitution is explicit and peremptory in that, where the delimitation report is not completed six months before an election, or where it is deemed unconstitutional, the old boundaries ought to apply for that election and does not envision a suspension of elections,” said ERC
The ERC further cautioned that a suspension of elections could potentially lead to political instability and create a legal vacuum since the Constitution provides no extension provision regarding terms of office.
“The constitution makes it clear that power should be acquired only through a periodic election conducted every five years, and the term of office of elected government officers is strictly five years. There is no legal basis that will allow the current government to legitimately remain in power post 26 August 2023, therefore any proposed suspension of the 2023 Harmonised Elections poses a threat to Zimbabwe’s democracy,” ERC said