via Civic society groups petition Parliament – NewsDay Zimbabwe April 9, 2014 by Moses Matenga
CIVIC society groups yesterday petitioned Parliament to block the Electoral Amendment Bill from being passed before there is more time for public consultation and adequate room for the consideration and incorporation of further changes.
The petition was handed to Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma by the Election Resource Centre, Zimbabwe Human Rights Association and Women in Politics Support Unit.
Petitioners said they were concerned with the “flagrant breach of the Constitution as regards the current process of lawmaking, which excludes stakeholders, and disturbed by the apparent piece-meal approach to electoral reform as epitomised through the existing Electoral Amendment Bill (HB7, 2013) which clearly fails to address all electoral concerns as raised by interested election stakeholders.
“Now, therefore, the petitioners beseech the National Assembly to protect the Constitution and promote democratic practices in the lawmaking process; (and) facilitate public involvement in the legislative processes involving the Electoral Amendment Bill (HB7, 2013).”
They also want interested parties to be consulted about the Electoral Amendment Bill, and all other Bills that were pending before Parliament, and those that would be brought to the legislature for consideration in keeping with the letter and spirit of section 141 of the Constitution.
“Wherefore your petitioners pray that your Honourable House will be pleased to take our case into favourable consideration, and allow more time for public consultation before the Bill is passed,” the petition reads.
Recently, about 20 MDC-T MPs walked out of Senate in protest against the speed at which the bill was sailing through without incorporation of their proposed changes.
The Electoral Amendment Bill seeks to amend the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13] (“the principal Act”) and also to align the Electoral Act with provisions of the new Constitution adopted last year.