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Zimbabwe: opposition denounces “a masquerade” during partial elections

Zimbabwe: opposition denounces “a masquerade” during partial elections
Opposition supporters hold up placards as they protest against a High Court ruling in   -  
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Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP


The by-elections in Zimbabwe which were held on Saturday without any opposition candidate, the courts have dismissed all of them, constitute "a charade" and "a flagrant violation" of the Constitution, denounced on Sunday the opposition.

“The by-elections were a charade,” criticized the first opposition party, the Coalition of Citizens for Change (CCC), in a press release.

Announcing that it will take legal action, the party denounced "a judicial coup d'état against the right to vote and the right to be elected, as well as a flagrant violation of the Constitution". The results of the vote should be announced in the coming days.

In the two days preceding the vote, a certain Sengezo Tshabangu presenting himself as the "acting general secretary" of the CCC, but whom the opposition describes as an "imposter", obtained from the justice system that it excludes the nine candidates of the opposition declared.

In August, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, 81, won a second term and his party, ZANU-PF, captured 177 seats out of 280 in Parliament after a general election whose fairness was contested.

The ruling party has missed 10 seats since independence in 1980 to enjoy a two-thirds majority in Parliament and thus be free to revise the country's laws.

But in October, 14 opposition MPs lost their posts, after the success of an outrageous ploy : the same Sengezo Tshabangu had informed Parliament that the MPs in question, having left the opposition party, could not retain their seat.

The party denied losing members, but the ZANU-PF Speaker of Parliament declared the positions vacant, paving the way for Saturday's by-elections. This “series of judicial absurdities” demonstrates, according to the CCC, “the regime’s determination to undermine democracy” in the southern African country.

According to observers, these by-elections without an opponent are a maneuver by the regime to extend its control, with its sights set on a modification of the Constitution which would allow Mnangagwa to extend his reign by lowering the limit of two presidential mandates.

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