THE Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma has stirred a hornet’s nest after reportedly blocking the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs from monitoring the shambolic mobile voter registration exercise and inspecting the voters’ roll.
REPORT BY SENIOR STAFF REPORTER
Zvoma’s move has raised eyebrows as the House of Assembly Standing Order 158 makes it clear that it was the Speaker Lovemore Moyo who approves travelling by committees and not the Clerk of Parliament.
The Clerk’s role is simply to implement committee resolutions, as an administrator and not a policymaker. The portfolio committee, which plays oversight role on the Defence and Home Affairs ministries, last week resolved to visit voter registration centres to monitor and inspect the voters’ roll countrywide as the chaotic scenes were disenfranchising a large number of Zimbabweans who were keen to cast their ballot in the forthcoming make-or-break election.
Committee chairperson Paul Madzore yesterday confirmed there were hurdles between the committee and Zvoma.
Madzore said the committee needed to understand the problems being encountered by people so that they were ironed.
“As a committee, we made a proposal to go to the Registrar-General (RG)’s Office in Harare as well as to its centres in different provinces so that we monitor the voter registration exercise which was said to be chaotic.
“The thrust of the committee was to also inspect the voters’ roll and see who had been removed from it. However, there was a hurdle between the committee and Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma who said it was not the appropriate time to do that monitoring. The hurdles are being ironed out and we hope we will be allowed to do the monitoring,” Madzore said.
Silobela MP Anadi Sululu, who is also a committee member, said Zvoma’s decision to deny them the opportunity to monitor the exercise and inspect the voters’ roll was “political”.
“The committee has powers to go and investigate issues concerning the public, especially after the RG’s office and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission admitted the exercise was underfunded and chaotic,” Sululu said.
Asked for a comment Zvoma said: “Let the ones who told you that I barred them give you the story. I can’t comment on untrue stories.”