Vacant MDC, Zanu PF Seats Open to Challenge

THE replacement of members of the House of Assembly and senators by the three political parties which are signatory to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) will not be automatic as their candidates will be subjected to by-elections if there are independent candidates contesting the seat.

There has been speculation that the political parties will just forward their nominations for replacement of members of the House of Assembly and for senators for endorsement by the respective houses.

Zanu PF and the two MDC formations have to replace members of the House of Assembly and senators who died since the last elections in March and those that took up different positions.

The Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, Eric Matinenga, this week confirmed that the process of replacing the House of Assembly members and senators would not be automatic.

“The issue of when replacements of members of the two houses has not been addressed yet but the Global Political Agreement applies to three parties Zanu PF, MDC-T and MDC and if any other candidate from any of the parties not involved in the agreement want to contest, they will be allowed to contest and a by-election will be called in the constituency,” Matinenga said.

He said if there were no independent candidates and other political parties contesting the three political parties will nominate candidates who will automatically sit in parliament.

Matinenga said after the nominations the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) will call for the other parties to contest the vacant constituency and if there are challengers then a by election will be held in the constituency.

Matinenga said he would meet with the parties to ensure that they send the names for their nominees to ZEC.

ZEC deputy chief elections officer Utoile Silaigwana said seven parliamentary seats were vacant and by-election if necessary would be held soon.

“Please be advised that by-elections will be held as and when they fall due. The global political agreement is agreement reached by the three parties only,” Silaigwana said in written response to questions from the Zimbabwe Independent.

“It therefore follows that any party or individual which or who is outside the three parties is not barred from contesting the election which would have arisen as a result of the seat falling vacant for whatever reason.”

BY LOUGHTY DUBE

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