Parliament has invited two Bulawayo-based journalists, Mandla Tshuma and Lulu Brenda Harris to a meeting following their petition seeking the amendment of the Electoral Act to include postal voting for journalists.
In Zimbabwe, postal voting is only accorded to people in the security services, at embassies abroad and other civil servants on electoral duty.
Tshuma of Magwegwe, and Harris of Queens Park in Bulawayo, filed their petition on 5 April, and Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda announced it in Parliament on 20 July 2022.
The petition was addressed to Mudenda and the Members of Parliament.
Acting Clerk of Parliament Helen Dingani on 19 January 2023 said the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Portfolio Committee was considering their petition on the need to amend section 73 of the Electoral Act Chapter 2:13 to include journalists among persons who qualify for postal voting. Wrote Dingani:
To this end, the committee is kindly inviting you to a meeting on February 2 at 10 am in the National Assembly, Ground Floor at Parliament Building.
The purpose of the meeting is for you to further explain the issues raised in your petition.
In their petition, the two reporters said journalists play a vital role in any society as was seen at the height of the COVID-19 lockdown.
They said this is evidenced by the fact that the government, on April 19, 2020, accorded the media an essential/critical service status after it published Statutory Instrument 93 of 2020. They wrote:
… we pray that the Parliament of Zimbabwe exercises its constitutional mandate to amend section 73 of the Electoral Act to include journalists among persons who qualify for postal voting ahead of the 2023 harmonised polls.
Tshuma confirmed on Monday that they will attend the meeting. | NewsDay