ABOUT 20 MDC-T senators yesterday walked out of Parliament yesterday in protest against the speed at which the Electoral Amendment Bill was sailing through different stages without incorporating their proposed changes.
The Bill entered its Second Reading Stage yesterday after Justice and Legal Affairs deputy minister Fortune Chasi brought it to the Senate for alignment with provisions in the new Constitution.
“It is useless to stay because all issues that we are proposing are not being taken seriously by the minister,” Midlands Senator Morgen Komichi said.
“This Bill does not put any efforts to try and rectify the problem of the voters’ roll. Our senators have raised those issues, but by the look of it, the minister was not taking it seriously and so some MDC-T senators decided to walk out and do other serious business.”
The Bill is expected to sail through Third Reading Stage today.
Masvingo Senator Misheck Marava said the anomalies his party was raising pertaining to proposed amendments were for the good of the country.
“We need to relook at section 40 (c) of the Electoral Act as it criminalises anyone else except the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to do voter education and this has since been corrected by the new Constitution,” Marava said.
“People are also asking whether we are going to let the Registrar-General or Zec call the shots on voter registration because this Bill is silent about this. The Bill further violates the Constitution in section 67 — because the Constitution protects the rights of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, prisons and hospitals to pass postal votes and we need clarity on that.”
Chasi, however, said government was going to ensure that the matters raised were going to be dealt with, including the issue of Zec and allowing people in jails to exercise their rights to vote.
Other reforms the MDC-T wants in the Bill are issues of media coverage during elections, the period of declaration of results, accreditation of observers, political violence and intimidation and disclosure of ballot information.