COVID-19 forces Zimbabwe's ruling party to postpone annual conference indefinitely

2020-10-22 10:05:36 GMT2020-10-22 18:05:36(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

HARARE, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the ruling ZANU-PF party to postpone its annual conference indefinitely, party acting spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa has said.

The Herald newspaper reported Thursday that Chinamasa had told it after the party's Politburo meeting on Wednesday that the conference, which has been scheduled for Bindura, Mashonaland Central Province, in December, would no longer go ahead as a precaution against COVID-19.

He said the conference had been postponed indefinitely to allow the government, the party and people to contain the pandemic.

The party holds annual conferences for four years ahead of an elective congress every fifth year, according to its constitution.

Chinamasa said the Politburo had received a report from the Conference Coordinating Committee on the state of preparedness of the party to hold the National People's Conference but had decided not to go ahead with the conference for the time being.

"However in line with COVID-19 Level 2 restrictions currently obtaining, the Politburo resolved that having done well to contain the COVID-19 disaster as compared to other countries, the party must not get carried away," he said.

"In times of national emergencies such as COVID-19, the priority of the party should be to protect the lives of our people and the security of our nation," said Chinamasa.

He said the Politburo deliberated on various options available on holding the conference with suggestions on either, holding it virtually or postponing it indefinitely and holding it when the situation normalized.

"After lively, honest and frank deliberations, the Politburo took the decision to postpone the Annual People's Conference indefinitely, to allow the government, party and the people to contain the COVID-19 pandemic without undue disturbances," he said.

The government has since banned the holding of elections to fill casual vacancies in Parliament and local authorities, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.

As at Oct. 21, the country had recorded 8,215 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 236 related deaths. Enditem