austin zvoma 29.03.11.jpgTwenty-eight (28) constituencies have been without parliamentary representation following the death of 21 legislators, expulsion of four and the elevation of others to higher positions.

Hundreds of thousands of people from 28 constituencies have been without parliamentary representation for about three years.

In an interview with ZBC News, Clerk of Parliament, Mr. Austin Zvoma revealed that 16 parliamentary seats from the lower house and 12 from the Senate were left vacant since the opening of the Seventh Parliament in October 2008.

“Parliament has already written to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the President’s Office alerting them of the 28 vacancies created by the death of parliamentarians, but nothing has been done to replace them worse still for some who died almost four year ago,” said Mr Zvoma.

The Clerk of Parliament noted that it is not normal for ZEC to fail to hold elections within such a long period, but blamed the GPA provision which stipulates that the holding of by-elections can only be negotiated by the Principals.

“It is not normal; it is unusual under normal circumstances, because usually the presiding officer which is ZEC and the President’s office once they receive communication from parliament, it should not take them years to announce dates for by-elections, but with this GPA things are being done the other way,” added Mr Zvoma.

Mr. Zvoma could not confirm or deny whether the views of 28 neglected constituencies are being represented in several sittings of parliament stretching from 2008.

Legal experts say any further delay in the holding of by-elections in the 28 constituencies is tantamount to undermining the constitutional rights and holding the interests of the people at ransom.