Opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) says the Electoral Amendment Bill that is currently before Parliament is designed to disqualify prospective party candidates through targeted criminal convictions.
In a statement, CCC national spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said the Bill is unconstitutional as it does not take into account recommendations of the 2018 Election Observer Missions.
“It fails to align Zimbabwe’s Electoral Law to the Constitution, it does not take into account the recommendations of the 2018 Election Observer Missions on electoral reforms and it is not compliant with regional and international electoral treaties, guidelines and standards,” said Mahere
She said the amendment is calculated to silence opposition members who are facing ‘targeted’ prosecutions.
“This proposed amendment requires aspiring candidates to make solemn declarations that they have no conviction of at least 12 months prior to the election. This amendment is calculated to ensure our members who are facing targeted prosecutions and are victims of clear weaponization of the law to silence the opposition do not stand as candidates.
“This implied disqualification clause for Parliamentary candidates violates and is ultra vires the Constitution. The Constitution sets out the only competent grounds for disqualification of Members of Parliament in sections 121, 125 and 129. Crucially, there is no mention of disqualification due to prior conviction before tenure of office,” she said
Mahere accused the ruling Zanu PF party of bringing forward the draft amendments without public consultations.
“The draft amendments have been put forward by ZANU PF to suit their ends with no public consultation whatsoever. The Electoral Reform Bill is designed to create the impression that electoral reforms are being implemented when in fact, the proposed amendments take away more than they give and seek to exclude effective political participation in the forthcoming elections by the CCC.
“Despite the constitutional obligation under s68 to consult the public when administrative action of this nature is undertaken, there is no record of public or stakeholder consultations in the lead-up to the draft amendments. No meetings of political parties nor Civic Society Organizations were convened by either by ZEC or the Ministry of Justice to consider recommendations from stakeholders. Written submissions were not solicited either.” Mahere said
She said the proposed amendments are superficial in that they do not address the essential election systems and process principles enshrined in Chapter 7 of the Constitution.
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