“No Elections Until 10 Million Are Vaccinated”
24 July 2021Zimbabwe will not hold by-elections any time soon as it needs to vaccinate about 10 million people, representing 60% of the population required to reach herd immunity. As of Friday, 23 July 2021, only 1 400 905 people had received the first jab, while 671 155 people had received both doses. In October 2020, the government through Vice-President and Health and Child Care Minister Constantino Chiwenga ordered the suspension of by-elections citing COVID-19 fears. On Thursday Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi said the country was sticking to the suspension of by-elections due to COVID-19. He said elections would only take place upon the achievement of the vaccination targets. Ziyambi said this while contributing to a parliamentary debate on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) report for the year 2020. He said:
You do not vote when you are dead. You do not exercise your democratic rights when you are dead. I believe that all things being equal, once we have reached herd immunity, we are going to vote. So for now, we stick to the laws that are there.The by-elections were necessitated by the recall of MDC Alliance MPs by the Douglas Mwonzora-led MDC-T and deaths of some MPs across the political divide, which left about 26 seats vacant, according to ZEC. Meanwhile, Dzivarasekwa MP Edwin Mushoriwa (MDC Alliance) said ZEC was not moving with speed to fulfil its mandate and the delay to hold by-elections was prejudicing the electorate currently not represented in Parliament.