The government announced on Tuesday that Cabinet had approved the principles of the Electoral Amendment Bill 2022 but stakeholders say they were not consulted.
Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the amendments included:
i). the timeframe within which Parliament and local authority candidates could withdraw from contesting in an election
ii). incorporation of the 30% women’s and the youth quotas and
iii). amendments of the definition of proof of identity, among others.
Election Resource Centre programmes manager Takunda Tsunga said it was also disturbing that the proposed Bill had not been made public. Tsunga said:
It’s unfortunate that the Minister of Justice has not made the proposed Amendment Bill public before tabling it before Cabinet. In terms of inclusivity of electoral stakeholders, the document must have been made public for comments.
While we wait for the full document, we hope the proposed amendments address electoral stakeholders concerns that have been negatively impacting free, fair and credible elections.
Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) deputy secretary for elections Ellen Shiriyedenga said the Bill was not a product of stakeholder consultation, hence it could not be endorsed.
People’s Unity Party leader Herbert Chamuka said the Electoral Bill 2022 should pave way for the demilitarisation of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
The Bill comes amid increased calls for the government to implement electoral reforms to avoid “another disputed election.”
Zimbabwe is scheduled to have harmonised elections in 2023.