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Hwedza residents discuss legislative reforms
in Zimbabwe Coalition
August 20, 2010
18 August, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition convened a meeting under
the Transitional Dialogue Series (TDS) in Hwedza focusing on Electoral
and broader legislative reforms as tabled during the opening of
the 3rd session of the 7th Parliament. The meeting was attended
by political parties and the local business community. The purpose
of the meeting was to:
- Build consensus
among state actors, civil society, legislators and representatives
of other interest groups on legislative and electoral reforms.
- Review and
interrogate the Presidential speech and parliamentary role in
line with the legislative and electoral reform agenda.
- Provide a
platform for expert input and sharing of views of key legislative
and electoral reforms as a means of stimulating informed debate.
The panel comprised
of Masvingo Area Prosecutor, Mr. Derrick Charamba and The Coalition's
Senior Programs Officer, Mr. Nixon Nyikadzino. Mr. Charamba opened
his discussion with an emphasis on the role of political will over
existing law as a prerequisite for a society that respects the rule
of law. He pointed out that during the June 27 2008 elections there
was law but politicians decided to disregard it due to lack of political
will and illegitimate and unconstitutional laws like the Public
Order and Security Act (POSA), Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) among other
repressive laws. The discussion on electoral reform centered on
eight key proposed amendments as listed below:
a) Voter polling
station specific voter registration
b) The role of the police in electoral processes
c) Releasing of Presidential results
d) Nomination process
e) Accreditation of observers
f) Special body for complaints of political violence
g) Postal voting
h) Assisted voters
i) Transparency in the number of ballot papers printed and distributed
Services Act (BSA)
d) The proposed Attorney General's Act
of issues raised during the plenary session
- The polling
station specific voter registration and voting will increase the
vulnerability of political activists and general voters considering
Zimbabwe's history of violence.
- There is
need for increased access to the voters' roll by the public
and civic society.
voters must be allowed to choose individuals that they trust and
have confidence in as means of protecting the secrecy and privacy
of their vote. This will also protect them from violence and intimidation.
election results must be available at least 48 hours after the
election. All results must be displayed on V23 forms outside each
- There is
need for an independent Media Commission that promotes the plurality
of media and enhances voices of various sectors of the society.
AIPPA, POSA, Interception
of Communications Act (ICA), BSA and other repressive laws
should be overhauled rather than having piece meal amendments.
- The current
proposed amendments to POSA will still give the police unfettered
powers to sanction meetings making Zimbabwe a police state.
Participants recommended the following:
of the public must be allowed to vote where they feel comfortable.
Members of the Civic society are opposed to polling station specific
observers must be deployed at least 4 months before and 4 months
after the election. Observers must be chosen by the electoral
- The results
for general elections must be announced concurrently rather than
have Presidential elections being delayed. It is thus recommended
that all results should be announced not more than 48 hours after
- The Zimbabwe
Republic Police must not be allowed in polling stations. They
should be given a distance of 300 meters from the polling station.
- All electioneering
should be stopped 24hours before polling.
- Parties to
must set time lines for electoral and legislative reform well
before elections in order to improve the political landscape for
- The media
and electoral commissions must report to parliament and must be
appointed and supervised by a portfolio committee responsible
for such issues to enhance its independence and autonomy.
- The new amendments
to the electoral law must allow for Zimbabweans in the Diaspora
- A new independent
commission must be appointed that must immediately work towards
auditing the voters roll and ensuring Diaspora the respect of
the diaspora vote.
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