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POLAD discusses electoral reforms

by Staff reporter
30 May 2021 at 08:30hrs | Views
MEMBERS of the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) platform yesterday met in Nyanga to unpack the draft Electoral Amendment Bill submitted to Parliament by civic society groups.

They also interrogated the recently gazetted Independent Mechanism Complaints Process Bill.

All 18 political parties were represented at the meeting that was attended by technical partners from the Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network (Zesn).

Zanu-PF representative Paul Mangwana said POLAD members were agreeable to most of the proposals.

"We are looking at the whole election management system, interrogating the proposal from Zesn," said Mangwana.

"There are areas where we are agreeing; some areas need further consultations within our political parties and there are also areas where we do not agree.

"We are looking at areas where we can have consensus and then make a joint proposal to the Electoral Act".

He said there was a need to improve transparency of the electoral process.

"When vote counting is taking place political party agents must be there so that they can all agree on the outcome.

"But there are areas which we think they have gone a bit too far. For example, Government should play a role when it comes to the invitation of foreign election observers.

"We have disagreed with the proposal in which they say ZEC should approve the foreign observers who come into the country.

"We said no, this is a security matter and the State must play a key role in admitting or denying them entry into the country," said Mangwana.

He said most of the proposals by the civil society were progressive.

National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) president Professor Lovemore Madhuku said deliberations on electoral and political reforms were meant to ensure an improved environment by 2023.

"We are going through the whole Electoral Act and all other laws that are related to elections, proposing the reforms that we would want to see.

"For example, we have already agreed that blind voters can use braille and must no longer be called assisted voters.

"We should have braille ballots that are accessible by blind voters."

People's Rainbow Coalition (PRC) president Lucia Matibenga said the proposed electoral and political reforms were meant to ensure that the 2023 elections outcome is undisputed.

"A disputed election has negative effects on the country. When noise is coming from inside our country, it gives a picture out there of a country that is in turmoil, a country in dispute with itself."

Source - sundaymail