The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has expressed concern over the proposed changes to the gazetted Electoral Amendment Bill.
ZEC recently released the gazetted Bill which seeks to amend the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13].
Under the new propositions, the Act seeksto the remove the driver’s license as proof of identity for electoral purposes; seeks to disqualify previously convicted persons from contesting in elections and
the Bill also provides for the incorporation of the youth quota in the National Assembly and the women’s quota in local authorities which are both products of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 2) Act, 2019.
In a statem Tuesday, ZESN said it believes that the Bill addresses nominal and administrative reforms whilst ignoring pertinent reforms that may have a direct bearing on the transparency and credibility of elections in Zimbabwe.
“For instance, the removal of a driver’s license as proof of identity is purely nominal as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has always declined it as proof of identity for election purposes for example during voter registration and voting.
“ZESN is irked by the fact that the Electoral Amendment Bill is silent and does not address some of the key principles of electoral systems and processes on the provides a timeframe (21 days) when a candidate may withdraw from contesting in a National Assembly or local authority elections. credible, peaceful, free and fair elections as enshrined under Section 155 of the Constitution.
including legislative measures to ensure that effect is given to the principles set out in subsection
conduct and management of
Section 155 (2) of the Constitution states that, “The State must take all appropriate measures,
These principles , ZESN, said,include peaceful, free and fair elections, conducted by secret ballot,
based on universal adult suffrage and equality of votes, which are free from violence and other
Further, ZESN is concerned by the lowering of Constitutional standards as elaborated in the
recently gazetted Electoral Bill.
“The Bill creates a ceiling of thirty per cent (30%) of women
councillors as part of the quota system for women’s representation.
“However, this does not represent the fullness of the Constitutional Amendment (No. 2) provision which seeks to create a minimum threshold for women in local government at thirty per cent (30%) on a ward
basis through a Proportional Representation (PR),”the state further stated.
ZESN lamented that the Bill further violates the Constitution as it contains a proviso which will result in the decrease of the women’s quota percentage when a political party fails to present a full list of candidates for the local authority women’s quota.
The provision makes women losers for their political parties’ negligence, maladministration or
“ZESN calls the government to consider the quota system design that ensures the minimum thirty per cent (30%) seats are within the existing ward boundaries through a portion of Proportional Representation and therefore ensuring equality in how representatives of the country take up public office in direct election seats as guided by the Constitution Amendment (No. 2).
“This will give relevance to the roles that women in the quota play at local authority level, which deals with day-to-day service delivery issues among others,”the elec watchdog wrote.
ZESN noted that an additional quota to the existing wards will make these women redundant, add an extra burden to taxpayers by having councillors without wards, perpetuate their marginalisation and subject them to name calling as is the case with the National Assembly quota.
“We, therefore, reiterate our call on the need for the government to reconsider a formula that does not jeopardize the women’s quota as provided for by the Constitution.
“The need for the government to sincerely drive the agenda for equality in representation cannot be overemphasized,” the state added