PARLIAMENT resumes sitting this week amid expectations that MPs will conclude crafting improvements to the Electoral Amendment Act, which they failed to complete in April as most legislators were away campaigning for primary elections.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Parliament is moving at a snail’s pace in amending the Electoral Act yet elections will take place in a few months.
Other Bills that are expected to be crafted include the Public Health Bill, which is in the second reading stage, the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill in the committee reading stage, the Ziscosteel Debt Development Assumption Bill, which is in the second reading stage, the Civial Aviation Amendment Bill, which is in the committee reading stage, and the Insolvency Bill, which is in the second reading stage.
MPs like MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese and MDC legislator Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga have already suggested a raft of changes to the Electoral Amendment Act, mostly to do with plugging loopholes to the printing of the ballot papers to avoid electoral fraud and to ensure gender parity during elections.
Gonese wants section 52A of the principal Electoral Act to be repealed and substituted with a new section, which will prescribe how much ballot papers must be printed and their publication details.
He wants the new section to read: “The commission (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) shall ensure that the number of ballot papers printed for any election does not exceed by more than 10% the number of registered voters eligible to vote in the election.”
In an interview with NewsDay, Gonese said past elections in Zimbabwe had witnessed excessive printing of ballot papers by more than 35% of the number of registered voters.
He said information pertaining to where the ballot papers would be printed should also be revealed to all political parties, accredited observers, and candidates contesting the election.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga is also sponsoring amendments, which, if effected, call for the disqualification of political parties that are implicated in electoral violence and those that do not adhere to the constitutional requirements of gender parity.