via ‘Bill to iron out electoral issues’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe October 2, 2015
The General Laws Amendment Bill will deal with electoral issues that caused some political parties like the MDC-T to boycott participation in by-elections, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa told the National Assembly on Wednesday.
by VENERANDA LANGA
The issue was raised by MDC-T deputy chief whip Dorcas Sibanda, who asked the VP, who oversees the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs ministry, to explain measures being put in place to ensure the ground was level to facilitate the holding of free and fair elections.
“Madam Speaker, the first part of the question relates to some political party or parties who have boycotted by-elections. Let me assure the MP that Zimbabwe is a democratic country; people can boycott elections if they wish to and can participate if they wish to. You cannot force a political party by law to participate in elections,” Mnangagwa said.
“In relation to the issue of reforms, as the Executive, we are guided by the issue of aligning the Electoral Act to the Constitution. The General Laws Amendment Bill is in the Second Reading Stage and the Bill deals with issues of elections, making amendments which the political parties agreed to.”
He added: “The question of whether the field is level or not level is subjective. What we only do is that the government must make sure that the electoral laws comply with the letter and spirit of the Constitution.”
Mnangagwa said in debating the General Laws Amendment Bill, MPs from both sides should make contributions as to how they feel the letter and spirit of the Constitution is taken on board on the electoral laws.
In an unrelated matter, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare deputy minister Tapiwanashe Matangaidze said there were about 1 800 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the country, with 1 200 of them recorded as operational.
This was in response to a question by Buhera West MP Oliver Mandipaka [Zanu PF] who claimed there was a proliferation of NGOs, some of them duplicating activities.
“As we stand right now, there is no law that limits the number of NGOs that can be registered,” Matangaidze said.
Meanwhile, Senate on Wednesday sat for only 10 minutes after resuming its sitting at 2:30pm, and it adjourning at 2:40pm without anything being debated.
This was despite a motion on the Presidential Speech being on the Senate Order Paper as part of the items that senators could possibly have discussed.
The only matters discussed during the 10 minutes was an announcement by Senate Deputy President Chenhamo Chimutengwende of the pre-budget seminar to be held in Victoria Falls in November, as well as restoration into the Senate Order Paper of the Gender Commission Bill.