Elec­toral Amend­ment Bill sails through

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Zva­maida Mur­wira Se­nior Re­porter

THE Elec­toral Amend­ment Bill sailed through Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day and now awaits Pres­i­den­tial as­sent to be­come law.

Se­nate passed the Bill last night with­out amend­ments after the Na­tional As­sem­bly al­lowed the Bill to sail through last week fol­low­ing ten­sion-filled pro­ceed­ings.

The Bill seeks to give le­gal ef­fect to the Statu­tory In­stru­ment on the Bio­met­ric Voter Reg­is­tra­tion (BVR) that was un­der­taken by the Zim­babwe Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (ZEC).

The le­gal in­stru­ment that was used had a life­span of six months, hence the need to take it to Par­lia­ment for de­bate. The Bill also seeks to en­sure free and fair elec­tions.

Jus­tice, Le­gal and Par­lia­men­tary Af­fairs Min­is­ter Ziyambi Ziyambi, who was steer­ing the Bill, said the coun­try’s elec­toral sys­tem was cred­i­ble as it af­forded all play­ers the right to seek any clar­i­fi­ca­tion.

He was re­spond­ing to Sen­a­tor Gideon Shoko (MDC-T) who had asked whether po­lit­i­cal par­ties would be af­forded the op­por­tu­nity to see the print­ing of bal­lot pa­pers.

Dis­abled Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Sen­a­tor, Nya­mayabo Mashavakure sought to know if ZEC would set up a desk for the hand­i­capped.

Min­is­ter Ziyambi said ac­qui­si­tion of vot­ing ma­te­rial would be done in terms of pro­cure­ment laws, but po­lit­i­cal par­ties and stake­hold­ers would have a right to ask any in­for­ma­tion from ZEC.

“In terms of the Con­sti­tu­tion, po­lit­i­cal par­ties have a right to ask those ques­tions and ZEC is obliged to give re­sponses to re­quested ques­tions. Our elec­tions are very cred­i­ble.

“Dur­ing vot­ing, polling agents and ob­servers will be given in­for­ma­tion on how many bal­lot pa­pers have been dis­trib­uted to a par­tic­u­lar sta­tion, their se­rial num­bers and after vot­ing there would be rec­on­cil­i­a­tion on how many bal­lot pa­pers have been used, num­ber of spoilt pa­pers and those that re­main un­used.”

On the estab­lish­ment of dis­abil­ity desk, Min­is­ter Ziyambi said it was a worth­while pro­posal that ZEC should con­sider.

Last week, Zanu-PF MPs re­jected pro­posed amend­ments by MDC-T law­mak­ers say­ing they did not add value to the elec­toral sys­tem.

One of the pro­posed amend­ments by MDC-T chief whip Mr In­no­cent Gonese was to im­pose an obli­ga­tion on ZEC to sub­ject the pro­cure­ment of bal­lot pa­pers to an open ten­der where all po­lit­i­cal play­ers were in­volved.

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