Electoral Act fails on all counts: MDCs

HARARE - The amendments to Zimbabwe’s Electoral Act do not go far enough to guarantee free and fair elections, opposition political parties have said.

The Electoral Amendment Bill, signed into law by President Robert Mugabe last month, aligns itself with the democratic provisions of the new Constitution, according to government, and replaces the temporary law passed by decree by Mugabe in the run-up to the 2013 elections.

But both the Morgan Tsvangirai and Tendai Biti-led MDCs say the new Act fails on all counts.

MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora told a meeting organised by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) in Harare on Tuesday that the amendments were a blow to  democratic progress that the country envisaged in terms of electoral reforms.

“In my respectful view, it falls far short, doesn’t advance our democracy, stagnates our democracy and in some instances draws us back,” Mwonzora told the meeting.

“The amended Act is clearly unconstitutional and we hope that there are civic society organisations that are going to attack the constitutionality of this Act in the Constitutional Court.

“I hope that Zanu PF is going to unite with MDC, Renewal and Mavambo people to fight against what is unjust.”

Mwonzora said the amended Act failed to tackle the contentious voters’ roll and specific duties of respective office holders, diaspora vote, citizens’ political rights, media space and unwarranted smear campaigns.

“The Act is disenfranchising our brothers and sisters working outside the country’s boundaries but not in government service and again we do not want a repeat of last year’s election scenarios where until now no one has seen the RG’s (Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede) voters’ roll,” he said.

Jacob Mafume, the MDC renewal team spokesperson, said besides serious citizen’s views gleaned from public outreach programmes, the views were not incorporated into the Act.

“Most of what my sister Jessie Majome went around gathering is not in there,” Mafume said. “It has ambiguity over the management and control of the voters’ roll, whether or not they have taken out the clauses in the main Act which allow registrar general Mudede to run the voters’ roll. It does nothing to change voter education. It allows voter registration to continue 12 days after nomination.

“It also provides them with reason to withhold voters’ roll like last time. It continues the issue of voter slips. We cannot legislate over them as proved in last election because they are easy to manipulate. We do not need to go back to postal balloting.”

Mafume said the amended law failed to deal with issues of vote rigging which he said were widespread in the country’s recent harmonised elections.

“The electoral board must govern internal democratic tendencies of parties funded by the tax payer. It should have been put in there because this is where national problems begin,” he said.


Comments (1)

warume ndidzo nyayaka idzi thats what you must fight for not kuzoyeka bako mvura yanaya ma elections abirwa MOZOCHEMACHEMA PASISINA YEKUTAMBA

dofo - 14 September 2014

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