Parly aborts virtual hearings -Newsday Zimbabwe

Source: Parly aborts virtual hearings –Newsday Zimbabwe

CONFUSION marred Parliament’s virtual public hearings.

CONFUSION marred Parliament’s virtual public hearings yesterday to discuss the Electoral Amendment Bill after some participants began posting pornographic material during the Zoom meeting, while others muted and unmuted their speakers disturbing the flow of the meeting.

The virtual public hearings by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs began on Monday.

Parliament authorities were forced to abort the virtual meeting after some participants unmuted their speakers and began discussing sexual issues to disrupt the meeting.

The Bill seeks to amend the Electoral Act, but has been criticised for only addressing nominal and administrative reforms, while ignoring pertinent reforms that may have a direct bearing on the transparency and credibility of elections in the country.

Some of the proposed amendments include removal of the driver’s licence as proof of identity for elections and to disqualify previously convicted persons from contesting in elections. It also seeks to provide a timeframe of 21 days for a candidate to withdraw from contesting parliamentary or local authority elections.

The proposed amendments also include incorporation of the youth quota in the National Assembly and the women’s quota in local authorities, which are both products of the Constitution.

Opposition political parties have complained that the proposed amendments only favour the ruling Zanu PF party, while ignoring suggestions from other stakeholders.

Before the meeting was disrupted yesterday, some participants suggested that there must be stiff penalties for perpetrators of political violence.

Contributing from the diaspora, Simba Bako said: “Violence is just unacceptable during elections and you know all the perpetrators. Why is the issue not fully addressed in this Bill?

“It should be an automatic disqualification in elections. People in the diaspora also want to be involved in elections.”

Another participant Edith Masango said: “The Bill must be clear on the number of seats reserved for people with disabilities.”

Others suggested that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission must be stopped from managing the voters roll because its activities are shrouded in secrecy.