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Constitutionalism in the electoral cycle amid COVID-19

Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) on Wednesday, 7 October, 2020 conducted a radio discussion on Skyz Metro FM that was aimed at raising awareness on the electoral cycle, with focus on the pending by elections, and to encourage citizens to participate in the ongoing voter registration process as well as shed light on by-election prerequisites. Nomqhele Siziba, the Executive Director at Youth Invest bemoaned how the vacant seats in the Council affects the equitable distribution of resources.

Siziba urged political parties to align their intentions and work in a manner that will benefit citizens in the long run. She noted that the recent recalls have an impact on the representation of citizens’ voices and will mostly benefit political parties at the expense of citizens.

“Political parties need to realign their priorities for the greater good of the public so that they are beneficial to citizens. Democracy in Zimbabwe is under threat because of internal political party disagreements that have a negative bearing on citizens as a whole,” added Siziba.

The representative role that leaders are endowed with suffers the most, as residents in other residential suburbs currently do not have any form of representation to support their service delivery demands.

“The leadership vacuum has a negative bearing on citizens as they do not have anyone to represent them,” added Siziba.  “Some are facing water challenges and discrimination in accessing water and they have nowhere to report these discrepancies.”

“Bulawayo is faced with a disheartening water crisis and some suburbs like Nkulumane and Pumula go for 14 days on end without running water,” said Siziba.

Speaking during the programme, Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (ZESN) Matabeleland Field Officer Ndodana Ndhlovu, encouraged the electorate to vote reiterating that by doing so their voices and views are recognized.

During his presentation Ndhlovu went on to highlight circumstances that lead to a by-election, citing reasons such as a recall or the demise of a leader at local authority level or at National Assembly.

He further cited that there are a number of considerations that ought to be put in place so that citizens are protected from contracting COVID-19 even during an election especially at a polling station. Ndhlovu also shared his comments on that the leadership vacuum impacts on citizen’s ability to enjoy their rights.

Ndhlovu further urged political parties to enact policies that promote the fulfillment of gender equality considering that women are left out of several processes that ensure their effective participation in leadership positions.

 

 

 

 

 

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