Members of the public urged government to implement comprehensive electoral reforms to ensure credibility of elections, which have in the past often been characterized by allegations of rigging, violence, unfairness among other electoral malpractices. This was said at a public hearing conducted by the Portfolio Committee on Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on Monday 24 October 2016 in the Senate Chamber. The Committee is conducting public hearings on electoral law reforms following a petition to Parliament by the Election Resource Centre (ERC) calling on the legislature to overhaul the current electoral laws so that they are in sync with the provisions of the Constitution as well as electoral best practices and benchmarks. Key specific issues raised by the public include the following;

• Adoption of Biometric Voter Registration (BVR)

• Provision for Diaspora voting

• Vote buying must be punished

• Independence of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) must be guaranteed in the law

• Violence and intimidation of voters must be punished

• Voters Roll must be availed in the electronic format

• Equal access to the media by contesting candidates and parties must be guaranteed in the law

• ZEC processes must be inclusive and transparent

• Voter education must be open to more stakeholders

• Need to demilitarize ZEC secretariat

While parliamentary procedures and guidelines to the conduct of public hearings clearly spell out the expected conduct of Committee Members and members of the public at a public hearing, of late there have been wilful disregard of these procedures by both Committee Members and members of the public. Disorderly conduct by one Committee Member almost scuppered the public hearing yesterday as he objected to allegations that his party was involved in voting buying in the recent by-election in Norton Constituency. It is hoped that Parliament Administration will stamp its authority to ensure that the remaining public hearings will be conducted in a peaceful atmosphere in conformity with parliamentary procedures.

The remainder of the Committee’s itinerary is shown in the table below;

DAYTIMELOCATIONVENUE
Tuesday 25 October 1000 hrs Concession Dandamera Hall
Wednesday 26 October 1000 hrs Mutoko Nyamakwere Hotel
Thursday 27 October 1000 hrs Mutare Dangamvura Beit Hall
Friday 28 October 1000 hrs Bulawayo Iminyela Hall
Saturday 29 October 1000 hrs Gwanda Gwanda Hotel
Sunday 30 October 1000 hrs Gweru Gweru Theatre Main Auditorium
       

For those who are not able to attend the public hearings are free to send their written submissions to:-

The Clerk of Parliament 

ATT: Portfolio Committee on Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs

P. O. Box CY 298, Causeway, Harare.

Email: clerk@parlzim.gov.zw

For more information, please contact the Justice Committee Clerk, Precious Zenda, on the following contact details: Tel: +263-4-700181/252941, Mobile: 0772 281 533 and Email: zendap@parlzim.gov.zw