THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs yesterday said it will appeal to Speaker of the House of Assembly Lovemore Moyo for the green light to visit voter registration centres and inspect the voters’ roll.
REPORT BY SENIOR STAFF REPORTER
This came as the Paul Madzore-chaired committee accused the Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma of blocking them from inspecting the voter education and registration exercise at the Registrar General’s Office in Harare and other provinces countrywide.
Zvoma last week stirred a hornet’s nest after reportedly blocking the Committee from monitoring the shambolic mobile voter registration exercise and inspecting the voters’ roll. His move has raised eyebrows as the House of Assembly Standing Order 158 makes it clear that it was 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 second phase of the voter registration exercise is expected to kick-start next Thursday after the Zimbabwe electoral Commission ordered the process to start afresh for 30 days.
“We are supposed to visit registration centres to investigate how the Registrar-General’s Office is handling voter registration next week when it kicks off, but Zvoma seems to be a thorn in the flesh as we are meeting impediments from him,” Madzore said yesterday.
“As a committee, we have resolved to take the matter up with Moyo (Speaker) because we are not happy with the manner in which Zvoma is handling the issue.”
The Glen View South MP added: “We only need one week to investigate what is happening throughout the country and our wish as a committee was to visit the registration centres during the first or second week of commencement of the exercise.”
The portfolio committee, which plays an 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.
Although strenuous efforts to get comment from Zvoma and Moyo were fruitless as they were both unreachable on their mobile numbers, Zvoma last week told NewsDay: “Let the ones who told you that I barred them give you the story. I can’t comment on untrue stories.”
Silobela MP Anadi Sululu, also a committee member, applauded Cabinet for allowing the 2008 voters’ roll to be used as the 2010 copy was allegedly fraught with irregularities.
“It is a positive move because transparency is now coming into effect. As a committee, we would like to urge people to demand receipts when they are registered as voters so that if they do not find their names on the voters’ roll during voting day they can contest it using those receipts,” Sululu said.