CONSTITUTIONAL and Parliamentary Affairs minister Eric Matinenga yesterday announced that Parliament would be dissolved in June to pave way for harmonised elections to be held between June 29 and October 29.
REPORT BY VENERANDA LANGA
Addressing a Press conference in Harare, Matinenga also said the lifespan of the Constitutional Parliamentary Select Committee (Copac) would lapse at the end of this month.
“I cannot tell you the election dates, but I can certainly tell you that the life of the current Parliament comes to an end in June because it was on June 29 that the President was sworn in and so it is concurrent with the life of the Presidential term,” said Matinenga.
Although Matinenga did not explain how the country would be run after June 29, President Robert Mugabe said on Tuesday that while the life of the current Parliament would certainly be over by the end of March, the Executive’s term could be extended.
Speaking in an interview with a local daily from Rome, Italy, where he had gone to witness the inauguration of Pope Francis, Mugabe said: “. . . we are aware that the term of office of Parliament is coming to an end at the end of March. There is no one really who can extend the term of office of Parliament. We may extend the term of office of the Executive . . . to work in an acting capacity. We can never, never do anything without someone in Government, but we can do without someone in Parliament. We are aware of that.”
Matinenga said Zimbabwe would have to hold elections between June 29 and October 29.
“It means we must have elections anytime between June 29 and October 29, and Copac as a committee of Parliament has completed its task and it means its existence has come to an end. The UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) has also already indicated that their participation in this process by way of financial assistance comes to an end this month.”
Matinenga also proposed the adoption of a biometric voters’ roll system which captures citizens’ data, including fingerprints and a digital photograph, to guard against multiple registration of potential voters.
The biometric voter registration system is said to have facilities for automatic voter registration of a person at birth and deregistration at death.
“I think attending to our voters’ registry is a must and we should simply find money for that purpose. Last year there was talk of that intensive exercise to be done by June 3, but the issue of funding has held back this exercise,” Matinenga said.
The minister said in terms of Section 52 (ii) of the Constitution, the draft constitution will be gazetted before it is introduced in Parliament on May 7.
“I do not see a lot of time being taken to debate the draft. After it passes through Parliament, it will be placed before the President for signature and we want it to be a big ceremony because it is a momentous time in our history,” he said.