Blessings Mashaya 7 March 2018
HARARE – Legislators across the political divide yesterday said more needs
to be done for the country to have credible elections.
Debate the Electoral Amendment Bill, MPs said the Bill is very shallow as
it is not addressing the controversial issues on elections.
It was the Second Reading debate. The Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has already explained the Bill and
Fortune Chasi has presented the report of the Portfolio Committee on
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on the Bill and the public
hearings held by the committee.
“In this country, we have disputed elections for several times but this
Bill is not addressing those areas we were disputing. We have many areas
which need to be covered but it is not covered. The Bill is very shallow,”
MDC MP for Mutare Central Innocent Gonese said.
“In this region, ruling parties need to rule forever. Former minister
Jonathan Moyo once said the ruling party cannot reform itself out of
power, and I think there is need for attitude change ahead of elections.
We have some provisions which infringe the independence of the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (Zec).
“According to the Constitution, every person has the right to vote which
includes those who are in prisons, Diasporans and the disabled,” the MDC
chief whip added.
Chegutu West Zanu PF MP Dexter Nduna said the Bill must allow the youths
from 16 years to vote.
“A 16-year-old can be given a driver licence, so why are they not allowed
to vote? They must be allowed to vote. We also have the issue of proof of
residence which is required for a person to register to vote.
“In my constituency, a few people are landlords so many people are left
without registering to vote because they do not have proof of residence,
this requirement must scrapped.
“The Bill must ensure that all people are registered to vote who include,
the so-called aliens and the disabled,” Nduna said.
Norton independent MP Temba Mliswa weighed in saying the playing field
must be level to all political parties before elections.
Mliswa also castigated intra-party violence saying it can lead to a
violent election if it is not stopped.
The Electoral Amendment Bill is aimed at improving electoral laws and
calls on members.
Institutions such as Veritas already think that the Electoral Amendment
Bill’s scope in its current form is very limited and must be expanded in
order to include punitive measures on political parties that perpetrate