ERC director Tawanda Chimhini said the platform came at an opportune time when “an unconstitutional bill, the Electoral Reform Bill, was recently rushed through the Senate”.
“This platform will give citizens the opportunity to engage with the bill before it is signed into law,” Chimhini said, adding that the nation was supposed to be consulted at every stage of the process by representatives in parliament.
According to Chimhini, the bill is silent on critical constitutional provisions, such as gender equality, and fails to address the challenges encountered at the July 31 elections – among them voter registration.
He noted that some legislators approved the ‘bad’ bill without fully understanding its contents.
Chimhini said it was not enough for civil society organisations to complain about the bill’s shortcomings; they needed to team up with the electorate to engage the law-makers for something to be done.
Some 20 MDC-T senators walked out of parliament when the bill was being passed “as it did not address problems regarding the voters’ roll and other issues”.
It did not mention postal voting for Zimbabweans in the diaspora, hospitals and prisons. It also failed to clarify who – the ZEC or the registrar-general’s office – would be responsible for voter registration.
The new discussion platform, Chimhini said, will also be used to engage elected officials on services and on policy issues in governance processes.
People will be able to reach MPs and other elected officials by phone, Facebook and Whatsapp to constantly remind them of their responsibilities.
ERC will run awareness slots of public radio ahead of the debates.
The communication platform is on the ERC website (www.erc.org.zw) and filters to the Facebook page Electoral Reform-Why Rush-Give Us Time.Post published in: News