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Parliamentary Roundup Bulletin No. 09 - 2013
Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
May 22, 2013

Introduction

The Senate sat for only eleven minutes and adjourned immediately after the prayer and announcements from the Chair without debating any motions on the Order Paper. The issue of the just concluded mobile voter registration took centre stage again in the House of Assembly. The House of Assembly also adopted the motion on the presidential speech.

House of Assembly Plenary

Adoption of Motion on Mobile Voter Registration

The motion on mobile voter registration introduced in the House last week by Hon. Settlement Chikwinya was unanimously adopted by the House yesterday. Members across the political divide were in agreement that it was a very important and urgent motion that needed support of all the Members in the House since voter registration was a key element of a free and fair election. However, Members differed politically on why the just concluded mobile voter registration was “chaotic” and cumbersome. MDC Members alleged that this was a calculated move by ZANU PF working in cohorts with the Registrar General’s Office to frustrate perceived MDC supporters from registering to vote. They claimed that perceived ZANU PF strongholds had more mobile registration units as compared to their own party’s strongholds; where mobile units were few and far in between. This claim was refuted by ZANU PF Chief Whip, Hon. Jorum Gumbo, who said he was also equally unhappy with the manner the voter registration was conducted in his constituency as there was only one mobile registration unit.

Members also castigated the Registrar General’s Office for poor publicity on the mobile voter registration exercise. In most parts of the country, the majority of the people were not aware of the exercise let alone the dates, venues and the pre-requisite documents. The staff from the Registrar General’s Office was accused of unprofessional conduct in dealing with members of the public. They were accused of “harassing” the public and deliberately frustrating them from registering. While applauding the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Chairperson’s sober approach to the voter registration issue, Members bemoaned ZEC’s delegation of this very important exercise to RG’s Office without proper supervision as required by law. Hence, they urged ZEC to take full control of the process.

In adopting the motion, members were agreed that the Executive needed to repeat the mobile voter registration exercise in line with the provisions of the 6th Schedule of the new Constitution, which provides for a 30-day ward-based blitz voter registration exercise. Members also appealed to the Executive to mobilize adequate funding for the exercise.

Adoption of Motion on Presidential Speech

The House adopted the motion on the Presidential Speech. Before the adoption of the motion, Hon. Patrick Sibanda (Binga North) and Hon. Simbaneuta Mudarikwa (Uzumba) lamented lack of meaningful development in their respective constituencies as well as basic services from various government departments; roads, health, education etc. Hon. Sibanda argued that despite the fact that Binga contributes to the national fiscus through tourism, government was not ploughing back resources to develop the area.

Senate Plenary

As indicated above, the Senate broke its previous sitting records as it only sat for 11 minutes before adjourning as it could not consider the two Bills before it, namely; the Securities Amendment Bill and the Micro-Finance Bill since the Minister of Finance was not in the House to give his second reading speech on the Bills.

Today’s Sitting

Both Houses are sitting today. Question Time and private members’ motions will dominate today’s plenary in the House of Assembly. Major business in the Senate consists of the Securities Amendment Bill and the Micro-Finance Bill and consideration of adverse reports from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the following Statutory Instruments published in the Government Gazette during the months of January and March 2013: (a) The Zimbabwe Youth Council General Regulations 2013, (b) Mining General Amendment Regulations 2013 No. 17, and (c) Mangwe Rural District Council Sand Extraction By-laws 2013.

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