A law lecturer at the University of Kent, United Kingdom, Alex Magaisa has criticised powers vested in Parliament under the Electoral Amendment Bill, which allows it to declare a rerun in an election should there be no outright winner.
Said Magaisa: “This is like outsourcing the power of the people to the MPs. Although they are the people’s representatives, there is need to go back to the electorate for another election until we get a winner.”
Magaisa, who was speaking in Harare yesterday, said there was need to strengthen the Bill if it was to add value to the electoral processes in the country.
He suggested more streamlined measures regarding custody of the voters’ roll, a contentious issue among political parties ahead of elections.
“The voters’ roll has to be kept within an exclusive jurisdiction rather than be shared between the Registrar-General’s Office and the Electoral Commission.
An example in question is what happened between 2004 and 2005 during which the Finance ministry was the gatekeeper and the RBZ responsible for supervision.
“There were problems with this set-up and recommendations were made for the two functions to be under one roof. This should apply to the voters’ roll,” he said.
Magaisa also said there was need to enable Diasporans to vote in the next election as this has been done in other countries like Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa.
“There is no recognised right for people in the Diaspora to vote. It would be useful to have critical debate on this as it happens in other countries,” he said.
An estimated three million Zimbabweans are currently in the Diaspora, most of them living as economic refugees who left the country at the height of the economic crisis in the past 10 years.