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Electoral Amendment Bill debate in Matebeleland
Election Support Network
September 20, 2011
ZESN has taken
Amendment Bill to Matebeleland where it has so far organized
and conducted four successful workshops in Cowdray Park, Makokoba
Suburb, Mangwe and Plumtree town. The issues discussed centred on
political tolerance and co-existence, citizen participation and
the most topical issue being the proposed Electoral Amendment Bill
In all the workshops,
participants were very keen to discuss on all the topics despite
the fact that there were police details present in all the 4 workshops.
Participants were drawn from the disabled community, support groups,
ward AIDS action Committees and home based care givers, village
heads and residents associations.
park- brethren Church
of issues from participants:
Tolerance and co-existence
felt that there was need for ZESN to conduct more workshops on
political tolerance and timely updates on the electoral issues.
- ZESN was
challenged to encourage youth to engage in recreation activities
and employment creation projects such as community entrepreneurship
projects so that they are not found inactive during the election
period and this they hoped will reduce politically motivated violence.
also castigated people in leadership saying they lack education,
discipline and political maturity to respect the electorate. They
thought a reasonable minimum educational qualification should
be put in place to guard against insensitive leaders.
Amendment bill 2011
in Plumtree wanted to know the exact dates of the public hearings
to be conducted by the Parliamentary select committee. They said
the dates should be publicized in advance to facilitate good attendance.
in Mangwe welcomed the idea of removing the Police from the polling
station as they said this will help reduce fear and intimidation
of the electorate.
- They also
urged ZEC to conduct elections in a professional manner and to
instill confidence in the process.
- However in
Bulawayo some participants were not sure whether to support or
to oppose the reform on illiterate voters. They were confused
as to the best way to deal with physically and visually challenged
voters. Others thought the personal aid was better while others
felt a team comprising of a police officer, presiding officer
and a relative or friend would be better.
- Most participants
in all the 3 workshops said that the amendment to the Electoral
Act was long overdue and a welcome move.
- There were
also discussions on the polling station based voters role which
most participants said was not ideal as it will make post election
political retribution easy.
As the custom
at most of the workshops participants thanked the organizers for
such empowering education and encouraged each other to put the knowledge
learnt into practice and also to inform others.
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