World Health Organization (WHO) will soon publish new health regulations that will allow countries to hold elections under the current COVID-19 induced environment, it has emerged.

The latest revelation was shared by Foreign Editor for SABC Sophie Mokoena:

“WHO says Elections are one important pillar of Democracy and elections must continue under the COVID19 regulations. The organisation will soon publish new regulations aimed at ensuring safe elections. @WHO,” reads the Twitter post.

Some countries including Zimbabwe had postponed elections citing COVID-19 regulations measures.

Zimbabwe, a fortnight ago banned by-elections to fill vacant parliamentary and local government seats citing the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ban announced by Vice President, who also doubles up as Health and Child Care minister Constantino Guvheya Chiwenga coincided with a controversial mass recall of MDC Alliance legislators and councilors by Thokozani Khuphe led MDCT party.

Before Chiwenga’s announcement ban through a statutory instrument, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) had initially announced that by-elections to fill the recalled parliamentarians and councilors seats will be held on December 5.

The ban was regarded by various critics as a gesture to stifle democratic space.

Alex Magaisa, a Zimbabwean constitutional law expert based at the University of Kent in the United Kingdom was quoted saying, “Statutory Instrument 225A effectively banning by-elections in Zimbabwe is living proof of it. (President) Mnangagwa is lifting restrictions in other areas, but not in elections. But the legality of this statutory instrument is doubtful.”

“It seeks to amend not only the Electoral Act but also the constitution. The Health minister does not have power to do that. Second, the statutory instrument cannot operate retrospectively as it seeks to do. It’s all very clumsy,” he added.

However, the latest development by WHO will come as a measuring stick for democracy in Zimbabwe. How the government will react to this move will determine the motive behind the initial ban. -TechMag TV