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ZHRC Worried Over Indefinite By-Election Suspension

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) has expressed worry over the recent indefinite suspension of the by-election by the government saying it limits the citizens’ rights to freely choose their leaders through elections.

In a statement, while commending government in efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic ZHRC said the Constitution and Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Zimbabwe is a party provide for citizens to freely express themselves.

“The ZHRC is worried by the recent pronouncement by the Minister of Health and Child Care Vice President C.G Chiwenga in terms of SI 225A /2020 of the Public Health COVID-19 prevention, Containment and Treatment) (Amendment) Regulations 2020, No. 4.

“Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Zimbabwe is a party provides that citizens have the right and opportunity to take part in the conduct of public affairs directly or through freely chosen representatives meaning the right to vote through electoral processes. The ZHRC underscores the fact that the right to vote in all elections and referendums to which this Constitution or any other law applies should therefore be observed and respected,” read the statement

The Commission urged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and other stakeholders exercise their obligations in upholding the Constitution.

“ZEC should continue exercising its independence and autonomy with regards to the electoral processes as per its constitutional mandate. Citizens should when necessary peacefully claim their constitutional rights and take duty bearers to account. They should always adhere to government’s safety guidelines especially during pandemics such as the Covid-19.” noted ZHRC

The Commission  welcomed the efforts by Government in fighting the Covid-19 threat by coming up with precautionary measures such as lockdowns and other restrictions, which they said are efforts in the right direction in line with provisions of section 86 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe limiting the enjoyment of certain rights and freedoms in times of health and other emergencies

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