Vice President Constantino Chiwenga in his capacity as the Minister of Health and Child Care has through Statutory Instrument (SI) 225A of 2020 banned the holding of by-elections citing the coronavirus.
The former army boss amended Covid-19 regulations ahead of by-elections scheduled for December 5.
Nomination court was due to sit on October 9.
The development is a huge blow to MDC-Alliance which was hoping to quickly return its legislators and councillors who were recalled by MDC-T interim leadership led by Thokozani Khupe.
This comes when the country has in the recent past been easing coronavirus lockdown restrictions at the backdrop of declining coronavirus cases in the country. Reads the SI:
Statutory Instrument 225A of 2020.
[CAP. 15:17 Public Health (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (Amendment) Regulations, 2020 (No. 4)
IT is hereby notified that the Minister of Health has, in terms of section 68 of the Public Health Act [Chapter 15:17], made the following regulations:—
I . These regulations may be cited as the Public Health (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (Amendment) Regulations, 2020 (No. 4).
2. The Public Health (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) Regulations, 2020, published in Statutory Instrument 77 of 2020 (“the principal regulations”) are amended in section 3 (“Declaration of COVID-19 as Formidable Epidemic Disease”) by the insertion of the following subsection after subsection (2)—”
(3) Pursuant to subsection (2), the holding of any by-election to fill a casual vacancy in Parliament or in a local authority is, for the duration of the period of the declaration of COVID-19 as a formidable epidemic disease, suspended, and if such vacancy occurred while such declaration is in force, no part of the period from the date of such vacancy to the date of the end of the declaration shall be counted for the purposes of section 158(3) of the Constitution.”.