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Scrap abused Constitutional provisions on recalls – Carter Center to Zim

By Staff Writer

US based Carter Center has called for the urgent need for authorities to scrap the Constitutional Provisions allowing elected political officials to be recalled as the only way to guarantee representative democracy in the country.

Between 2020 and 2022 Douglas Mwonzora initiated mass recalls of elected officials in the MDC-Alliance when party squabbles erupted in a development many still believed were inspired by personal reasons more than genuine concerns.  

The trend erupted once again since late last year and spilled into the New Year when one Sengezo Tshabangu who claims to be the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) secretary general initiated more recalls

Presenting its final report on the 2023 elections, Carter Center said most of the recalls are initiated under Section 129 and 278 of the Constitution which gives political parties the power to initiate recalls if they ceased to belong to then political party to which they were a member when elected to Parliament.

 However, sections 129 and 278 of the Constitution have been interpreted by the courts as giving political parties, rather than the electorate exclusive powers to recall elected officials. The electorate including people who voted the MP or Councilor into office even if they do not belong to the same political party – does not have any opportunity to decide a potential recall.

“This mechanism is damaging to representative democracy .This interpretation of the recall provisions has been challenged in Court several times since the adoption of the 2013 Constitution , most recently in in an ongoing legal challenge against the recall of sever al MPs , senators and councilors elected in August 2023

“These dynamics highlight the need for either scrapping or revising the recall provisions to prevent the abuse and manipulation of the provisions to subvert democratic processes,” said the report.

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