The recalling of elected officials from parliament and local authorities has contributed to the disenfranchisement of citizens and has diluted the efficacy of voting. This was said yesterday by participants at a meeting organised by the Women’s Institute for Leadership Development to assess the impact of the recalls on democracy and citizen participation.
The meeting sought to provide a platform for citizens to share ideas on how they can self-mobilise to fill in the leadership vacuum after the recalling of incumbents. Participants of note were those from Pumula Ward 19 where both the Councilor and MP were recalled.
Passing sentiments on the leadership vacuum, one participant said the lack of representation at local and parliamentary levels has affected service delivery.
“After our councilor was recalled, we were assigned a care-taker councilor whom we have not seen as they are understandably focusing on their ward. We do not know whom to take our issues to as our MP has also been recalled,” she said.
Speaking at the same meeting, Director of Public Policy Research Institute, Gorden Moyo, said citizens must have a say in the expulsion of their leaders and said the current recalls are a reflection of the toxic nature of politics in Zimbabwe.
“Citizens are the most affected by these recalls and because of that, they must be involved in appraisals and subsequent expulsion of their representatives. These should be based on facts and merit. Politics in Zimbabwe has become very toxic as a result of the dearth of leadership,” said Moyo.
The indefinite postponement of by-elections was cited as one of the delaying factors in ensuring the closing of the leadership vacuum. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission last year suspended the holding of by-elections owing to the imminent danger of the spread of COVID-19.
ZEC Commissioner Dr Qhubani Moyo told participants that ZEC is currently preparing for the commencement of voter education in preparation for either by-elections or the delimitation exercise. He underscored that the proclamation of elections is a prerogative of the President and ZEC will be ready to conduct the elections once the dates are known. He encouraged citizens to register to vote in the meantime as this also is key in the delimitation exercise.
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