THE opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) has recommended that a provision in the Electoral Amendment Bill should be included to bar the Justice ministry from making decisions for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec).
The Bill is currently before Parliament, which conducted some virtual public hearings on it yesterday.
CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said the proposed amendments to the Electoral Act were biased towards the ruling Zanu PF party.
Mahere said when the amendments to the Electoral Act were drafted, the opposition and other electoral stakeholders were not consulted.
“Mechanisms must be put in place to operationalise Zec’s independence and constitutional conduct, including by eliminating the role of the Justice minister in the administrative operations at Zec, and in the promulgation of electoral laws,” she said.
“The law must provide for an enforceable electoral code of conduct with punitive measures for all stakeholders who infringe the code inclusive of candidates, traditional leaders, media and members of the unformed forces among others.”
Mahere also said the online public hearings that had been organised were against the dictates of the Constitution as the media platforms used were not accessible to all citizens.
“An attempt has been made to belatedly stitch together electronic public hearings which are set to commence today (yesterday). We take issue with this methodology as it excludes the majority of the population which do not have access to the internet and may not be able to participate in the radio hearings due to technical challenges and load-shedding. The electronic hearings are also unconstitutional as they fail to facilitate comprehensive involvement and submissions from interested parties,” Mahere added.
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Clerk of Parliament Kennedy Chokuda could not be reached for comment on the decision to conduct public hearings virtually.
Section 141(b) of the Constitution states: “Parliament must ensure that interested parties are consulted about Bills being considered by Parliament, unless such consultation is inappropriate or impracticable.”