MARONDERA residents have rapped the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee for waiting until the 11th hour to consult on the proposed Electoral Amendment Bill with next year’s harmonised elections just a few months away, adding they had serious reservations that their input would be considered.
By Jairos Saunyama
Speaking during public hearings on the Electoral Amendment Bill at Mbuya Nehanda Hall in Marondera on Saturday, residents said the consultations would not serve much purpose given that general elections were due in nine months’ time.
“Where were you all along? You have come to consult us today and what is the reason? You are asking for our views on something you have commissioned already. You are wasting our time, the BVR [biometric voter registration] is already underway and elections are coming soon. So what are you going to amend?” one resident, Saizi Mark Vilela, fumed.
Some residents urged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to register potential voters at hospitals and prison centres and removal of State security agents from Zec’s secretariat.
Speaking on the sidelines of the public hearings, Election Resource Centre (ERC) director Tawanda Chimhini called on Parliament to capture public views and take them seriously.
“The ERC notes with concern, the disregard of public input by Parliament and its committees on laws related to elections. This defeats the spirit of the constitutional provisions guaranteeing public participation in the law-making process,” he said.
“We hope the forthcoming public hearings on the current Electoral Amendment Bill will seriously take into provision public input.”