The public hearings on the Electoral Amendment Bill were on Tuesday conducted peacefully in Harare, although similar meetings in other urban centres were disrupted by suspected rowdy MDC-T and Zanu PF supporters last week.
In Bulawayo, the weekend public hearings were reportedly held in peace apart from an incident where a suspected Zanu PF supporter allegedly threatened to stab a Parliament staffer with a knife after the meeting.
The public hearings on the Electoral Amendment Bill in Harare were conducted by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs led by acting chairman Innocent Gonese.
Members of the public submitted contributions on timelines for announcement of election results, the voters’ roll, postal voting, election observers and the conduct of the media and security forces during elections.
“Election observers should only be those from countries who are friendly to Zimbabwe. We do not want the European Union (EU) to observe our elections because they placed our country under sanctions,” said one contributor.
But his submission was immediately shot down by another one who said: “We have nothing to hide and election observers from all countries should be allowed — even those from EU as long as they follow the right procedures because Zimbabwe is a signatory to international protocols.”
Whilst some members of the public said voting should be ward-based, others differed and said it must be polling station- based.
They said they did not want Diaspora votes as they suspected a lot of rigging might take place when transporting the ballots.
There were differing suggestions on who should do voter education, with some saying it should be ZEC, while others felt anyone capable and with resources should be allowed to do so, including civil society.
Other issues suggested were that a lot of people considered aliens should be given opportunities to vote because most were born in Zimbabwe while others had spent more than 40 years in this country.