The novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) which is a respiratory ailment was declared a Global pandemic by the World Health Organization on 11 March 2020. His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe followed suit on the 17th of March 2020 by declaring the pandemic a national disaster and instituted a raft of measures meant to curtail/curb the spread of the disease. These measures were complemented by the passage of Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020(Public Health (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) Order, 2020 by the Government to guide the nation on how to deal with the pandemic. The Commission subsequently issued a press statement on 25 March 2020 suspending all electoral activities under its mandate in terms of (Section 239) of the Constitution.
Regular elections are fundamental to the proper functioning of a representative democracy. While the Commission had to take the necessary steps to suspend all electoral activities during the national lockdown it did not lose sight of the need to find ways of ensuring that the constitutional right to elections is not curtailed indefinitely. To this end the Commission has come up with a raft of measures which are intended to ensure that the suspension on the conduct of electoral activities is lifted and ensure that it carries out its Constitutional mandate in terms of Section 239 whilst also meeting the requirements put in place by authorities as precautions against the contraction and spread of the corona virus. The Commission further ascertained other electoral activities that do not involve direct engagement with the public. In this regard the filling-in of the Proportional Representation vacancies that occur in Parliament is relevant and necessary.