Electoral Amendment Bill Update

The Public Hearing Meetings (organized by the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Portfolio Committee) on the Electoral Amendment Bill successfully kicked off in Rushinga with the community concerned by failure by the committee to distribute a hard copy of the bill prior the meeting to enable citizens to familiarize with it before consultations.

The Rushinga community said the people in the Diaspora should be allowed to vote adding that Zimbabwe must do away with the use of voter registration slips. Rushinga meeting also expressed concern over the increased number of assisted voters arguing that some of them were literate voters. People with disabilities expressed the need to avail brail material to promote secrecy of their vote.

The Rushinga community said the bill should open up voter education to other players and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) should be open to carry out its duties. The Rushinga community also called for voters to be allowed to vote anywhere in the constituency.

The community also said the bill should make voting easier and also make automatic deletion of dead voters adding that ZEC independence is supposed be strengthened by the bill.

Rushinga said the representation of special interest in the legislature should be expanded adding that special voting should be expanded to people with disability, the elderly and pregnant women.

The community said traditional leaders should not be involved in Elections adding that adding that assisted voters should not be assisted by polling officials but by those that they want. Furthermore the meeting said that fair coverage of political parties should be given by state media.

The community said presidential results should be announced within three days adding that voters pretending to be illiterate on polling day asking for assistance should be arrested.

Police should be allowed in polling stations to ensure that there is no crime committed in the polling station and voter education is supposed to be expanded into the bill as a continuous process.

The community was also concerned if the Bill also covers the conduct of primary elections within political parties in Zimbabwe.

Rushinga said the bill should guarantee the arrest and disqualification of candidates perpetrating political violence adding that government is supposed to invest in civic and voter education.

The Rushinga community said prisoners should be allowed to vote if their sentence is below six months. Some traditional leaders were concerned that in as much as people are free to air their views, some of the expressed views bordered on selling out the liberation.

The Election Resource Centre observed that the house was clearly divided along perceived political positions on electoral practice and this is likely to be reflected throughout the hearing process.

Post published in: Politics

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