Source: Govt committed to fair polls: VP | The Herald June 27, 2017
Government is committed to the creation of a conducive environment for free and fair elections and has enacted adequate laws to ensure that Zimbabweans exercise their right to vote, Vice President Emerson Mnangagwa has said. VP Mnangagwa said this on Sunday in a speech read on his behalf by Deputy Attorney General Mr Kumbirai Hodzi during a stakeholder dialogue supported by the Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust aimed at considering a petition to Parliament by the Election Resource Centre to amend the Electoral Act.
The ERC headed by Mr Tawanda Chimhini outlined several provisions in the Electoral Act, which they felt ought to be reviewed.
“I want to reiterate that Government remains committed to creating a conducive environment for the holding of elections and referendum in Zimbabwe as constitutionally provided for and in keeping with the democratic regional and international guidelines and principles relating to the holding of free, fair, peaceful and credible elections,” said VP Mnangagwa.
“Thus, in as far as our laws are concerned and the extent to which this right is conferred by our legislation, we feel that our laws are adequate as they confer a right to every Zimbabwean who wishes to vote in a constituency defined by the Constitution to which the Electoral Act refers.”
VP Mnangagwa said Government’s door remained open for any possible suggestion to improve the law.
He said the call by the petitioners for a code of ethics for traditional leaders was riddled with some contradictions.
“The petitioners do not want the Chiefs to be part of the electoral processes, but they want to provide for a code of conduct for them when they are not involved,” said VP Mnangagwa.
“In any event, the Constitution imperatively adjures that provision for a code of conduct must be for political parties, candidates and other persons in elections and referenda.
“So, how do you reconcile the intention of crafting a code of conduct for people you do not want to see in elections? Let us not legislate to pander to the whims and caprices of a selected few, but for the peace, order and good governance of Zimbabwe. So, that proposal is surely irregular and can hardly be embraced in our legislation.”
The petitioner had also called for the need to allow people in the Diaspora the right to vote in line with the provisions of the Constitution.
They said as a starting point people would register to vote and exercise that right to vote using embassies in countries that they would be resident. University of Zimbabwe law lecturer, Professor Lovemore Madhuku, said it was difficult for the petitioners to win the argument on the right to vote for those in the Diaspora.