You are here:Home>National Assembly Hansard>Vol. 38>NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 10 JULY 2012 VOL. 38 NO. 45


Tuesday, 10th July, 2012.

The House of Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O'clock p.m.






House in Committee.

On Clause 1:

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): I move the amendment standing in my name that;

On page 5 of the Bill, delete clause 1 on lines 9 and 10 and substitute the following:

"1 Short title

This Act may be cited as the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Act [Chapter 10:30]".

Amendment to Clause 1 put and agreed to.

Clause 1, as amended, put and agreed to.

On Clause 2:

MR. GONESE: Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. I have looked at the amendment. I just want to make reference to the amendment as I am debating. I think that we welcome the removal of the proviso but I still have some concerns, as Members of the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, we engaged the Commission itself, had a workshop and also presented our report to the august House. My concern is that there is still a provision for both ratification and domestication. I believe where we have a situation where Zimbabwe has ratified an international human rights instrument, it is important for the Commission to have jurisdiction to deal with such treaties with instruments as opposed to the situation where there is also a requirement for domestication.

I want to reiterate that during the workshop which we had, there was the issue of other Commissions in other countries where for example, in Sierra Leone, their mandate includes all treaties which have been passed by international human rights bodies. In Malawi the Commission there can handle international human rights treaties whether ratified or not. The point I am making is that if Zimbabwe has some concern about any instrument, then the solution is to refrain from ratifying such an instrument.

Once we have ratified, I believe that there should not be the additional requirement for domestication. I appreciate that through the negotiations the parties might have agreed, but I would like to emplore the Minister to reconsider so that we can have a situation where we just have a provision for ratification not domestication.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): I am indebted to the hon. member for drawing attention to that point and I have no objection to deleting words "and domesticated" as part of its Clause. I would move therefore that the amendment deleting the proviso be deleted as I have proposed and also further that we put a full stop or a semi colony after the word "to".

Amendments to Clause 2 put and agreed to.

Clause 2, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clauses 3 to 5 put and agreed to.

On Clause 6:

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): I move the amendment standing in my name that;

On page 7 of the Bill, in subsection (1) of this clause, delete paragraph B between lines 4 and 7 and substitute:

"(b) employ such other staff as maybe necessary for the proper exercise of its functions, and engage consultants where necessary:

Provided that the Commission shall consult the Minister and the Minister responsible for Finance on the extent to which additional public moneys may be required for this purpose".

On page 7 of the Bill, insert after the end of sub-clause (1) on line 7 the following sub-clause, and renumber the subsequent sub-clauses (2), (3) and (4) as sub-clauses (3), (4) and (5) accordingly:

"(2) In order for a person to be appointed as Executive Secretary of the Commission, he or she must -

(a) Be qualified to be appointed as a judge of the High Court or the Supreme court; or

(b) Have a graduate or postgraduate qualification in human rights law or humanitarian law or a related discipline".

Amendment to Clause 6 put and agreed to.

Clause 6, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clauses 7 and 8 put and agreed to.

On Clause 9:

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): I move the amendment standing in my name that;

On page 8 of the Bill, in sub-clause (4) (a), delete in lines 24 and 25 the words "the aggrieved person was a citizen, resident or visitor of Zimbabwe at the time when the action or omission complained of occurred and".

MR. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Mr. Chairman. My debate on Clause 9 is not on the amendments by the Minister. On Clause 9, I propose the deletion of Section 4(a) especially with regard to the provision of the dates from which the Commission shall start investigating the offences. The current provisions are such that, the Commission will not investigate matters provided for earlier than the 13th of February 2009. I appreciate that this Bill is subject to a negotiated political process. However, I still feel that there is a large constituency of Zimbabwe, which has been affected and have had their human rights violated. We also need to set precedence and apply laws not necessarily for a particular period but as they are supposed to serve for the generality of Zimbabwe. I believe that any aggrieved person must be able to approach the Commission with their complaints and the Commission should look at that in a manner which promotes human rights and subvert any other further Commission of human rights violations. I therefore propose for the deletion of the date and leave it open so that anyone who feels aggrieved can appeal to the Commission.

MR. GONESE: I wish to associate myself with the sentiments which have been expressed by the hon. member. I would like to implore the minister to give serious consideration to the removal of the date. In saying this, I would like to believe that the work of the Commission should not be looked at as criminal investigations. Obviously, where we are dealing with criminal matters, it is important for the law not to apply retrospectively. The Commission will have a broad mandate where it may even make recommendations. In that regard, I would really implore the hon. Minister to give serious consideration to the removal of the date so that the date is left open and it becomes a matter of practicality as to whether the Commission can investigate matters which occurred before February 2009.

Further to that, I would also want to request the Minister to remove the prescriptive period of 3 years so that it does not look like in civil matters where we have a specific prescription period. I would submit that in human rights violations, we should not have something like specific period of 3 years where prescription applies. I would suggest that the prescriptive period should be something like 10 years.

MR. NCUBE: I would like to support what Hon. Gonese has said. The issue of dates should be left open so that the Commission will be free to do their job rather than to limit them to a certain period of time. With that, we would like the minister to scrap the dates. Thank you.

*MR. MUZA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Concerning the issue of dates, it is good but when we look at it in terms of the law. We want to ensure that when a law is made, it should not be left open for us to decide on the way forward especially when looking at the Human Rights Commission. There is need to put specifics to ensure the era in which they are going to commence because the moment we live it hanging, we will be moving backwards, they can actually go back to 1890 and this will waste state resources and the importance of the institution that we are trying to build. For that reason, I am saying that whatever had been done, we should not use our emotions but come up with laws to assist the government and the people to whom these laws shall apply.

MRS. MASAITI: Thank you Mr. Chairman. I rise to support the idea raised by the two hon. members that the issue of dates should be left open. I want to urge this august House, that we make laws for the people to protect them. Why should we put dates as if there is something that we are afraid of? If we are not afraid of anything, why are we not making sure that we embrace everyone who feels that his/her rights have been violated? Why can we not leave it open so that we protect all Zimbabweans and not only look at those that feel their rights were violated only after 2009. There are some who feel that their rights were violated way before that or even before independence or before 2008. We need to make laws to protect people and not to protect individuals or ourselves. What are we afraid of? Thank you.

MR. MUKANDURI: I think we are discussing an amendment which was reached after some consultations, meaning that there were negotiations which led to this amendment. Now we want to make an amendment out of an amendment. Legally that is correct, but I think the Commission should start in February 2009. This House should give the Commission the starting date which should be February 2009, not a blank cheque, carte blanche. No, Mr. Speaker, sir. I thank you.

MR. F. M. SIBANDA: Mr. Chairman my official name is Honourable Sibanda. I might not be quoted correctly in the Hansard. Hon. Speaker I rise to support Hon. Chikwinya on the proposed amendment on the dates. I know very well that this Bill was negotiated by our principals and even the negotiators, but this House has also a mandate as sent by the people throughout all 210 constituencies. We have researched from our constituencies and the message is that the people that I represent in Magwegwe feel stipulating a date as 13 February 2009 is not palatable with their human rights enjoyment. Yes, some might say we should be forward looking not to go back in retrospect, but we know that there are certain cases of those people who were aggrieved, if they are still there, in 1890 they have the right to come and appeal to the august Commission. I feel it is prudent that we should open it and fuel years that are not really meaningful according to Zimbabwean history. There has to be transitional justice one way or the other but this is a healing process through the Human Rights Bill. Therefore, I urge the Minister to consider the feelings of 210 constituencies and other people who are not represented here. I thank you.

MR. NDAVA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I want to applaud the wisdom shown by our negotiators for having agreed on a specific date when this Commission should start its work. I think we need to make laws in perspective and not in retrospect. I think it was in their wisdom to say we have to have the 13th of February as the date the Commission should start its work. Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): Thank you very much Mr. Chair. I want to thank all those who have contributed to the debate on Clause 9. Let me say two things by way of prefix. The first is that it is a cardinal principal of the rule of law and good governance that laws should not be retrospective. Secondly, I think there should be great appreciation by this august House of the efforts that negotiators have done to move this country forward. I sense always that we had become despised and the efforts that we put into our future are not always appreciated. To get to the point where we are to produce this document lasted two years. Do not forget that we are an Inclusive Government and there is no one party that can move legislation here and get it passed alone. We have to collaborate and through that collaboration we were able to produce a document, a legislation which may not satisfy all the view points but is sufficient to move this country forward. So, what I am asking you to do is to give us that support so that we can look to the future and not to spend our energies looking to the past. I appreciate the concerns by hon. members, but I want them to rise above parochialism, to rise above sectional interests. I want them to rise above all the basic instincts that have retarded the progress of this country.

We debated as I mentioned and these debates amongst ourselves are very acrimonious, very energy surping and it is because we want to find each other. We want to find common ground and it is not always easy to find that common ground. Now, I understand the contributions made and I would like hon. members who have made that contribution to reconsider so that they give us the support that we need. The Commission was sworn in 2009, but because of this bickering two years have gone by and this Commission is not operational. So, I would like you to consider that more seriously.

Mr. Chairman, already the date was a compromise. I was starting from the point of view that it should be perspective from the date the legislation becomes law. As a compromise we then took it from the date that the inclusive government was sworn in. We are aware of the concerns raised about alleged human rights violations in the past, but we can go on and if we have resources we can spend all our energies to go back to colonialism to hunt every white man you can find under the bush. We can go on, but are those resources worthwhile to spend in that direction. I do not think so, I really do not think so. I want to solicit and to beg the hon. members who have spoken. We are in the process as you might be aware. We set up under the GPA an organ on national healing and reconciliation, which as you know is co chaired by our hon. Vice President Nkomo and Hon. Sekai Holland and Hon. Lucia Ndlovhu. We are tasking that council we are going to set up a role to reconcile our population. We are giving them a role to look into the issues of the past in order to find accommodation among those people who were aggrieved and those who were perpetrators. I believe that is the right direction we should go and I believe that we should, when set up, give that council the support that it all deserves.

Mr. Chairman, I want to end here and thank those who are supporting what is in the Bill and also ask those who are opposing it to reconsider their position. Do not undo what has taken two years among negotiators. It is not in the interest of the country. I thank you.

Amendment to Clause 9 put and agreed to.

Clause 9, as amended, put and agreed to.

On Clause 10:

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): I move the amendment standing in my name, that on page 8 of the Bill, in sub-clause (1), delete in line 42 the words "in that notice" and substitute "in those regulations".

Amendment to Clause 10 put and agreed to.

Clause 10, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clause 11 put and agreed to.

On Clause 12:

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): I move the amendment standing in my name that, on pages 9 and 10 of the Bill, delete sub-clause (6) and substitute the following sub-clause:-

"(6) The Minister may, at any stage during the investigation of a complaint by the Commission, to produce to the Commission a certificate in writing signed by him or her to the effect that the disclosure of any evidence or documentation or class of evidence or documentation specified in the certificates is, in his or her opinion, contrary to the public interest on the grounds that it may prejudice the defence, external relations, internal security or economic interests of the state, whereupon the Commission shall make arrangements for evidence relating to that matter to be heard in camera at a closed hearing and shall take such other action as may be necessary or expedient to prevent the disclosure of that matter."

On page 10 of the Bill, in sub-clause (7), delete in line 7 the word "notice" and substitute "certificate".

On page 10 of the Bill, in the sub-clause (7) (b), delete in lines 13 and 15 the word "notice" and substitute "certificates".

On page 10 of the Bill, insert after sub-clause (8), the following sub-clause;

"(9) For the avoidance of doubt, it is declared that the law relating to the competence or compellability of any person on the grounds of privilege to give evidence, answer any questions or produce any book or document before the Commission, shall apply."

Renumber the subsequent sub-clause (9) as sub-clause (10) accordingly.

Amendment to Clause 12 put and agreed to.

Clause 12, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clauses 13 to 23 put and agreed to.

First, Second and Third Schedules put and agreed to.

House resumed.

Progress reported.

Bill reported with amendments.

Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.



THE FINANCE MINISTER (MR. BITI): Madam Speaker, I wish to bring to the attention of this august House that Zimbabwe will be conducting a population census in August 2012, specifically from midnight of 17/18 August to 27 August 2012.

The main objective of the census is to provide current information on demographic and related socio-economic characteristics of the population at national levels. Such data can be used for policy and programme planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

Madam Speaker, data from the census is also used to report progress made in achieving national and internationally agreed development frameworks and goals. For example, data obtained in the census will provide information relevant to at least 12 Millennium Development Goals. It also collects data on indicators contained in the Medium Term Plan (MTP), the international Conference on population and Development (ICPD) and the World Summit for Children (WSC).

Honorable Members, preparations for the 2012 Census began in earnest in May 2010. The major activities undertaken since then are as follows:-

- Demarcating the whole country into enumeration areas each one of which contains 80 to 120 households. This exercise was completed in June 2012;

- Conducting a pilot census in August 2011 to test all census instruments and procedures;

- Holding of planning meetings by the inter-ministerial Technical Census Committee (ITCC). Five meetings were held to design and finalize various data collection instruments. These meetings also served to train members of the ITCC.

- Sensitizing local government/authorities on the census an d the role they are expected to play in the census operation;

- Procuring questionnaires and other materials and equipment required for the census ; and

- Exhibiting at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair as part of the publicity campaign.

Preparations for the Census are ongoing and, as I speak, there are training activities that are being undertaken. Training of 1 320 district level supervisors is currently underway at training centers that were identified in each of the country's provinces. The trainers were earlier trained in the period 5 to 17 June. This will be followed by the training of around 6 000 enumeration area supervisors (27 July to 12 August) and about 31 000 enumerators (2 to 12 August).

Madam Speaker, for census enumeration to receive maximum cooperation from the public there is need to publicize the operation. A publicity strategy was developed by the Publicity Sub-committee of ITCC. The Sub-committee is chaired by the Ministry of Media, Publicity and information. The Sub-committee has so far produced and distributed pamphlets and posters in English, Shona and IsiNdebele. I have copies of the pamphlets which I will give you to read and also distribute in your constituencies.

Madam Speaker, let me share with you some of the activities that have been undertaken by the Publicity Sub-committee. Since May 2011, about 1 000 T- shirts have been distributed and there have been advertisements and press statements in both the print and electronic media. These were low key activities given the prevailing financial constraints. However, from 17 June a newspaper campaign started with the placement of advertisements in various newspapers at a cost of US$78 000. An intensified publicity campaign on radio and TV is expected to be in full force from 10 July 2012. Billboards with census messages have been erected in all provinces by 6 July 2012. The cost of the billboards currently stands at US$143 980.

Funding, Madam Speaker, has been a major challenge in implementing the various census activities. The cost of census operations in 2012 is estimated at US$37 221 524, the bulk of these being expenditures on training and actual enumeration. The budget allocation is US22 million resulting in a shortfall of about US$15,2 million. We have approached our development partners and the donor community for assistance and pledges amounting to about US$12 650 000 have been made.

Madam Speaker, I wish to acknowledge the support ZIMSTAT has received and continues to receive from all government ministries, parastatals, departments, public and private research and training institutions, civil society and individuals. However, we continue to ask for specific assistance from certain ministries whose input is crucial to the success of the 2012 Population Census. I would like to reiterate our request to the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture for early closure of primary and secondary schools. Besides this ministry being the largest supplier of human resources used in the census, they also provide the much needed training facilities.

Finally Madam Speaker, I wish to bring to your attention that some of the deliverables after the enumeration phase of the Census in August 2012 will be as follows:-

- A preliminary report will be published in December 2012;

- Provincial Profiles for the 10 provinces and the National Report will be published in 2013;

- Flyers with national indicators derived from the Census will be produced in the same year;

- Thematic reports relating to specific topics e.g. poverty, disability, youth, elder persons etc together with a Population Census Atlas will be published in 2014.

In addition, in 2013 dissemination workshops will be held in all provinces after which will be one workshop to discuss the national results.

Let me conclude by saying, "BE SURE TO BE COUNTED" and exhort Honorable Members to ensure that all people in your constituencies are counted. I thank you.

MR. KANZAMA: Hon. Minister from your presentation, I just want clarification on the role of Members of Parliament in their constituencies and the counting of people in terms of awareness. The other thing is the recruitment of staff, how is the exercise going to be carried out?

MR. BITI: Thank you Madam, Speaker. I think it will be important for all the members of upper House and the lower House to really carry the burden of educating their constituents and their communities on the importance of this census. This census is not just about knowing how many people are in Zimbabwe, it is also about knowing certain economic indicators that are so crucial to planning. For instances as I have read in my report, the issues of poverty levels, the issues of women, the issues of health and all these things are important in planning. So, I urge honourable members to really, really understand the importance of this census and to ensure that your communities are counted and to ensure that people actually prepare on the 17th and 18 th of August, 2012. I think it will be declared a public holiday and we do not expect to see people now trickling at Beitbridge to get out. I hope that everyone will be in Zimbabwe so that we fulfill the important thing that is called census which is a fundamental planning tool. I just want to give you one example Madam Speaker, we are battling right now with what was our GDP in 2008, we do not know, that is why we have different GDP figures because of the absence of reliable data. This census will give us a starting point in having reliable data which will be used by both the private and public sector in planning.

The second thing asked by Hon. Kanzama is on the recruitment of enumerators. My understanding is that they are coming from the provinces and the bulk of them are actually school teachers. So, there are traditional people being trained now which is why schools are now being closed on the 2nd of August as opposed to the 9th of August, 2012. Those enumerators, I think they have done a good job in the past, the school teachers and headmasters and we have no reason to doubt their capacity. So, I urge everyone here to carry the torch of educating people and also make sure that you yourself are counted. I thank you Madam Speaker.

MR. NCUBE: Hon. Minister, since our society is a bit polarised, how safe are these numerators? Are they going to be free to move around the country? The second issue, is the issue of the recruitment of trainers of enumerators, are they going to be people from that area or are they going to be from the cities to rural areas - the issue of having someone from Harare going to Muzarabani, will be a bit difficult to operate there.

MR. BITI: Madam Speaker, a census is not an election; a census is an obligation in a country to have. So, I do not think there is anyone in this country who would want to interfere with those enumerators, but I am sure if there is such attempt we have bodies like the Zimbabwe Republic Police that will uphold law and order in this country. Honestly, it would escape my wisdom that anyone would want to interfere with such an important national duty and national obligation. There is no political issue; there is no contested space at all, so I would actually be very shocked and surprised that anyone would want to interfere with such a noble process.

Trainings are taking place in every province; we have had trainings at centers like Gwanda, Masvingo and so forth. I am sure you have seen our teams in nice orange t-shirts and hats. So, the trainings have taken place in all the provinces and these are the people who now train the enumerators who are largely school teachers. So, we have taken people from local communities, train them in their provinces and then they will train the teachers from those provinces who will go and do the work in the particular provinces. We have tried to make sure that the local communities are shareholders to this function.

MRS MASAITI: I just want to find out from the Minister about the measures that the Government is going to take considering that most Zimbabweans have migrated to other neighbouring countries because of economic hardships and they continue to move out of the country in search of jobs - how are you assured that on that period Zimbabweans are not going to leave the country to go and look for greener pastures and then later come back so that we will have the correct statistics?

MR. BITI: One of the things that the Committee is doing is to try and develop a website where a household overseas provided they are registered, they have identification cards, if you have an identification card then you are able to say prima facie that you are a citizen. So there will be a website that at least try and see how many people we have in the diaspora.

However the issue of people leaving in the particular day, I think that will be very irresponsible. However, because this is such a scientific exercise, the exercise itself has a margin of error which is between zero percent and three percent. So, if there are going to be five thousand people that will leave, assuming they leave on the 17th August, 2012 which I hope, they will not, because it will be stupid and unpatriotic, those figures will be covered in the margin error of three percent.

MRS MASAITI: I want to find out whether it will not be possible to close the boarders on the particular day to make sure that Zimbabweans do not go out.

MR. BITI: It is a fascist idea, with respect I do not think we can do that. There is a Constitutional right of freedom of association and freedom of movement. I think one will be a foolish Zimbabwean to try and avoid this process. So, I hope that idiocy will not be the order of the day on the particular day.

MR. F. M. SIBANDA: Can the Minister assure this House that ZBC and other State newspapers are not going to play games as this is a national event as we saw in COPAC. It was a national event, but there were these games against it. What assurance are you giving us that ZBC and the Minister responsible are going to be responsible?

MR. BITI: I cannot give you an assurance because I am not the relevant Minister, but I think that it is the duty of everyone who is a Zimbabwean to support this process and it is the duty of the press, private and public to understand that this is an important national process. I agree with you that there has been a serious let down of particularly the constitutional making process which has been unnecessarily polarised and that I think is regrettable as it is unacceptable. I want to assure you that even in Cabinet today we had a big discussion on this question and I think we all understand the importance of supporting national causes and not politicising national issues or scoring cheap points against each other. So, I hope and trust that wisdom will prevail and that there is no politicisation of what in fact is a fundamental national process. I thank you.



THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS: I seek leave of the House to move that the provisions of Standing Orders Number 22, 106 and 109 regarding the automatic adjustment of the House at Five Minutes to Seven o'clock p.m. and at Twenty-Five Minutes past One o'clock p.m. on a Friday, the reports from the Parliamentary Legal Committee and the stages of Bills respectively, be suspended in respect of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission H.B.2, 2011) and the Electoral Amendment Bill (H.B.3, 2011).

Motion put and agreed to.



THE MINISTEROF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS: I move that provisions of Standing Orders No. 22; 106 and 109 regarding the automatic adjournment of the House at Five Minutes to Seven o'clock p.m and at Twenty-Five Minutes past One o'clock p.m. on a Friday, the reports from the Parliamentary Legal Committee and the stages of Bills respectively, be suspended in respect of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill (H.B.2; 2011) and the Electoral Amendment Bill (H.B. 3; 2011)

Motion put and agreed to.



THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS: I move that Order of the Day, Number 2 be stood over until the rest of the Orders have been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.



House in Committee.

MR. MUSHONGA: The Parliamentary Legal Committee met and resolved after the Minister that we withdraw the Adverse Report on condition that the polling based voting will not be conducted in the forth coming elections but for future elections.

Mr. Chairman, the Minister will move in his amendments one of those clauses wherein he is moving that that clause will not apply in the forth coming election but in the future elections. So because of that engagement, we have agreed to withdraw that Adverse Report.

House resumed.

Progress Reported.

Second Reading: With leave; forthwith.



THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS: Madam Speaker, on 21st July 2009, as Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, I submitted a Memorandum of Principles on Proposed Amendments to the Electoral Act for approval by Cabinet. Cabinet referred the Proposed Amendments to a Cabinet Committee made up of the Forum of the six negotiators in the Inter-Party dialogue and tasked the Committee to look into all aspects of the Electoral Act requiring to be amended and bring recommendations for consideration and approval by Cabinet by the end of August 2009.

The Cabinet Committee of negotiators met on several occasions over a period of nearly two years to consider amendments proposed by the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs. The Committee also made proposals for amendments to the Electoral Act additional to those by the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs.

The deliberations and conclusions of the Forum of Negotiators subsequently approved by Cabinet form the substance of the Bill which is before this august House. It is a great honour for me to outline the proposed amendments, some of which are of historic significance.

Proposed Amendments to Section 38 of the Electoral Act

Madam Speaker, Section 38 of the Electoral Act currently provides that the period within which an election should be held after nomination day should be a period not less than 28 days and not more than 50 days. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission appealed to us and argued that this period is too short considering the preparatory tasks that need to be carried out before polling day. The proposal before the House is to alter that period so that polling day may be between 42 and 63 days after nomination day. Clause 11 of the Bill seeks to effect this amendment as well as requiring the President to specify the date on which a run off poll must be held in a presidential election if none of the candidates succeed in getting more than the 50% +1 of the votes cast in the first round.

Transmission of Results from Polling Station to Appropriate Collation Centre

Madam Speaker, Section 64 (2) of the Electoral Act provides for the direct transmission of results of House of Assembly election results from the polling station to the appropriate constituency centre. There is no provision for the transmission of results for Local Authority, Senatorial and Presidential Elections. To address this short coming, the Bill contains a similar provision for the transmission of Local Authority, Senatorial and Presidential Elections. Furthermore to achieve greater transparency in the collation and transmission of poll results, the Bill is seeking four things namely:-

Firstly, the creation of Ward Centre for collation of results in the Ward for Councillors: House of Assembly Constituency Centre for collation of results in the House of Assembly Constituency for Members of Parliament; Senatorial Constituency Centre for collation of results in the House of Assembly constituency for Members of Parliament; Senatorial Constituency Centre for collation of results in the Senatorial constituency for Senators; Presidential Constituency centre to collate Presidential results at the House of Assembly Constituency Centre;

Secondly, legislating for the requirement for polling officers to post election results outside polling stations; to post local authority results outside ward centre; to post House of Assembly Constituency centre return outside House of Assembly Constituency Centre; to post Senatorial election results outside Senatorial Constituency Centre and to post Presidential Election Return at the House of Assembly Constituency Centre;

Thirdly, the Bill provides:

· Direct transmission of Local Authority Election results from the polling station to the Ward Centre and for record purposes, to the appropriate House of Assembly Constituency Centre;

· Direct transmission of House of Assembly election results from the polling station to the appropriate House of Assembly constituency centre;

· It also provides direct transmission of Senatorial election results from polling stations to appropriate Senatorial Constituency Centre;

· Direct transmission of Presidential results from polling stations to appropriate House of Assembly Constituency Centre;

· Direct transmission of House of Assembly Constituency Centre return of Senatorial results in that constituency to the Senatorial Constituency Centre;

· Direct transmission of Presidential results return from the House of Assembly Constituency Centre to the Provincial Command Centre en route to the National Command Centre.

Fourthly, legislating for the requirement for Polling Officers at Polling Stations, Ward Centre, House of Assembly Constituency Centre and Senatorial Constituency Centre and also to provide candidates or their polling agents with copies of returns and at the House of Assembly Constituency Centre, Senatorial Constituency Centre and Presidential Constituency Centre and also, to capture returns data in a computer for transmission to the National Command Centre.

There is amendment to postal voting. Part XIV of the Act deals with postal voting. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is of the view that processes involved in processing postal ballots are cumbersome and difficult to administer. Moreover, a number of polling officers who ideally would be eligible for postal ballots fail to do so because they only get to know that they will be away from their wards or polling stations after the closure of the period of receiving application for postal ballots. Some of the officers such as security offers are highly mobile and while they may apply for a postal ballot, they may change location by the time it is sent to them. The Commission therefore requested that all officers participating in elections as polling officers or security officers and those on state duty within the country be permitted to cast their votes at designated polling stations within the wards. The postal ballot system will be maintained for those officers serving outside the country on state duty. This proposal was accepted. Accordingly in this regard provides as follows:

· Postal ballot system is being limited only to those officers outside the country on state duty.

· Polling officers, security officers and any state person involved in the running of the election will be permitted to vote within a specified period before polling day. The voting to be done at designated polling stations throughout the country.

· The ballots cast in terms of the preceding paragraphs should be sent to the relevant respective polling stations together with a schedule of those who have voted in advance in terms of this amendment.

· Presiding Officers in the presence of the candidates or their polling agents and before commencement of voting are required to cross out from the Voters Roll, the name of those who have voted as appearing on the schedule coming from ZEC.

3.4 Amendment to section 125 of the Electoral Act

Section 125 (3) of the Electoral Act provides that those who desire to be nominated as councillors should lodge a written certificate of clearance from the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the relevant local authority council. The provision has proved to be cumbersome to ZEC with a number of candidates not adhering to the requirements on the basis that ZRP clearance certificates are obtainable only from Harare. Candidates have also alleged that it is difficult to obtain clearance certificates from councils. The provision was repealed through the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measure) (Amendment of Electoral Act) regulations, 2008, S.I. 13B of 2008. The said regulations lapsed after the regulated 6 months period. It is therefore, proposed that the provision doing away with clearance certificates whether from ZRP or from Local Authorities be entrenched in the Electoral Act. Accordingly, the Bill amends the Electoral Act to make provision similar to the one enacted under Presidential Powers (Temporary Measure) (Amendment of Electoral Act) regulations, 2008, gazetted under S.I. 13B of 2008 doing away with clearance certificates from ZRP or from Local Authorities. I must hasten to add that the fact of doing away with the Police Clearance or Local Authority Clearance does not mean the disqualifications will go away. These remain and can be raised against the member even after elections.

3.5 Amendment of section 15A of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act in Section 15A provides for the conduct of voter education for a period of 90 days before polling day. The Commission has submitted that it is difficult to implement this provision as in most cases they will not be aware of when the pools will take place until the publication of the dates through a Proclamation. The period from the date of proclamation to the date of the election is usually less than the stipulated 90 days. The Bill therefore, provides for voter education to commence a week after the date of publication of the Proclamation.

3.6 ZEC to be the sole lawful Authority to announce election Results and Insertion of Period within which Presidential Results must be announced.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission proposed that a Provision be included in the Electoral act [Chapter 2:13] prohibiting political parties from announcing the results of an election as this is the duty of the Commission. The announcement of results by a political party in the past caused damage to the integrity of the Commission locally and internationally. The Commission would therefore want a provision which states that it should have the sole responsibility to announce the results of any election. Accordingly, the Bill before you recognizes that the responsibility to declare and announce the election results is that of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and not political parties.

Furthermore, the Bill obliges ZEC to declare and announce the Presidential results by not later than 5 days fr5om the day after the final date of voting.

3.7 Polling station Specific Voter Registration. Voters Roll

Since March 2008, Zimbabwe has been using a Ward based Voter Registration/Voters Roll System. There are approximately 5 Polling Stations per Ward, under which the voter can cast his/her ballot at any one of the stations. In this system, the voter's name is duplicated in the copies of the Voters Roll which is often bulky as it contains all names of the voters in the Ward. It is proposed that a Polling Station Specific Voter Registration/Voters Roll be adopted to come into effect in the Elections to be held subsequent to the Harmonised Elections to be held anytime from now. During election time, only the voters registered at that particular polling station vote at that station. The proposed system can help in the easy identification of deceased voters whose names still appear on the voters roll. It can also help eliminate or minimise the risk of double voting. The polling station specific voter registration is more decentralised as voters can register to vote at the polling station in their locality. The system, when adopted, will also enable voting to be quicker as the number of voters on the voters' roll is reduced considerably, thereby facilitating easy identification of voters by the polling officers.

While the parties adopted the proposal for the establishment of a voter polling station, Specific Voter Registration/Voters Roll and the proposal is contained in the Bill before you there was subsequently a rethink over this issue so as to retain the current Ward based voters roll and defer the introduction of the polling station specific voter registration to the elections that are held subsequent to the next harmonized election. An amendment will be introduced at the Committee stage of the Bill to reflect this understanding.

Madam Speaker, Section 125 of the Electoral Act provides that a candidate for an election shall be nominated by means of a Nomination Paper, which is to be signed by 5 people, whose names appear on the voters roll. The form is also to be countersigned by the candidate or an agent, indicating consent to the nomination. In the past, there have been cases of candidates purporting to be representing a Party without the consent of the authorised person in a Political Party on whose behalf the Candidate purports to represent. It is proposed that an additional requirement be added requiring the nominated candidate to have his forms signed by an authorised person from the Political Party he or she is purporting to represent. This will eliminate instances where a number of people claim to be representing one Political Party in a constituency. The Bill is therefore providing as follows to simplify nomination procedures:

· Nomination of candidates supported by Political Parties registered and benefitting under the Political Parties (Finance) Act [Chapter 2:04] , shall be by way of a Nomination Form, must bear the signature of the candidate to signify his/her acceptance of the nomination. There will be no need for such candidate to seek the nomination of 5 people whose names appear on the Voters' Roll;

· Each Political Party should appoint and submit to ZEC not more than 3 persons authorised to make nominations of candidates on its behalf. The Statement submitting the 3 individuals should indicate whether the authority is to be exercised collectively or individually.

· Independent candidates or candidates of Political Parties not yet registered under the Political Parties (Finance) Act should remain obliged to support the nomination of their candidate by 5 persons whose names appear on the Voters' Roll in the relevant constituency.

Madam Speaker, the Electoral Act provides that the winner of the Presidential Election should win by a majority, which is 50 percent + 1, failing which there shall be a second election-Run-Off. It is recommended that this provision should be maintained in the future elections. There is therefore no provision amending this current requirement.

Madam Speaker, prior to the 2007 Amendment to the Electoral Act, a police officer on duty was one of those persons who could not be excluded from a polling station. The amendment to Section 55 of the Electoral Act removed a police officer from the list of such persons. Presidential Powers Regulations restored a police officer to the list in 2008, but these regulations expired in 2009 and is being re-enacted in this Bill through an Amendment to be introduced at the Committee stage of the Bill. The presence of a police officer in a polling station is requirement in South Africa, Botswana and Zambia. The proposed amendment therefore seeks:-

· To re-enact the Presidential Powers Regulations;

· To make it clear that police officers are at a polling station to keep law and order and that inside the polling station they will do so only upon the direction and instruction of the presiding officer and outside polling station, on their own initiative;

· To further make it clear that police officers at a polling station should not take part or interfere with the electoral process;

· To clarify that the Police Commissioner General should establish at every polling station, a police post.

Madam Speaker, the Bill is proposing amendments to the Electoral Act to make it clear that Parties are entitled to 2 election agents at the polling station, one inside the polling station and the alternative, outside. In the case of the absence of the election agent who is inside eh polling station, the alternative will substitute and stand in.

Section 59 and 60 of the Electoral Act currently provide that voters who require assistance should be assisted by the presiding officer in the presence of two electoral officers. During the 2008 elections, assisted voters were permitted to be assisted by any person of their choice in the presence of a presiding officer and two electoral officers and a police officer on duty. It is proposed that the Electoral Act be amended to provide that assisted voters such as the blind, be assisted by any person of their choice but in the presence of only the presiding officer so as to verify and ensure that the person chosen to assist the voter, fulfills the choice of the voter. Presence of Presiding Officer obviates subverting the will of the voter.

The Bill therefore is providing the following amendments:-

A physically incapacitated voter who is unable to vote but is literate is to be permitted to vote with the assistance of a person of his or her choice and above the age of 18 years and without the presence of the presiding office or polling officers.

A visually impaired voter is to be permitted to be assisted by a person of his or her choice and above the years of 18 years but is to exercise his/her right to vote in the presence of the presiding officer who is there to verify and ensure that the will of the voter is inspected and complied with by the person assisting.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act [Chapter 2:12]

Madam Speaker, the Bill provides for the repeal of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act and for its provisions to be incorporated and consolidated into the Electoral Act, Chapter 2:13.

Madam Speaker, for greater transparency relating to printing and distribution of ballots the Bill contains a provision amending the Electoral Act to require the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to give information to Political Parties and candidates participating in an election, the total number of ballots printed and ballots distributed to each polling station.

Amendment to Section 21 of the Electoral Act (availability and accessibility of the Voters Roll).

Madam Speaker, furthermore the Bill seeks the following two amendments;

1. Amend section 21(4) so as to provide that upon request, electronic copies may be given to Political Parties and candidates contesting in an election, free of charge, ensuring though that the CD, while open and capable of electronic analysis cannot be tampered with.

2. Amend section 21 to provide that ZEC can, for a prescribed fee, make available a Voters Roll in a print form, photocopies thereof or electronic copy capable of electronic analysis that cannot be tampered with.

Presidential Run-Off

We noted a glaring omission in the cross referencing of the Second Schedule to Section 110 of the Electoral Act and have agreed to amend Section 110 to indicate it as the enabling provision for the Second Schedule to reflect in it the provisions of section 110 accurately and correctly and making it clear that where there are more than two candidates, there would be a Presidential Run-Off if no one candidate is able to master votes which are greater than the totality of votes cast for his/her rivals.

The bill also provides that the Proclamation dissolving Parliament and setting the date of elections should allow for the eventuality of a Run-Off by fixing a date of the Run- Off.

Amending of Section 23 of the Electoral Act (Residence Qualification of Voters)

Madam Speaker the Bill provides for a situation whereby the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is to be permitted to prescribe documents that will suffice for proof of residence of persons intending to register as voters. Such documents to include affidavits sworn by the person intending to vote or a class of persons with some authority in the community who can vouch for the residence of the voter in the given Ward.

Amendment of section 6 of the Electoral Act: Election Observers.

The Bill seeks the following amendments to section 6 of the Electoral Laws.

1. In the proviso to section 6(4)(a), to amend so as to give the Minister of Foreign Affairs the right to raise any objection to a proposed accreditation and to remove the right of the Minister to veto;

2. To remove the proviso to section 6(4)(b);

3. To remove the proviso to section 6(4)( c);

Politically Motivate Violence.

There has been extensive discussions over what appropriate measures to take to deal with the menace of politically motivated violence during the campaign and the post election period. To address this evil the Bill seeks to incorporate into the Electoral Law the following amendments;

1. Set up a special body to receive complaints or allegations of politically motivated acts of violence, to monitor and to carry out investigations of such reports;

2. To refer these allegations to the Zimbabwe Republic Police for expeditious investigations and for possible prosecution ;

3. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to be empowered to summon candidates, election agents or political parties against whom allegations of violence have been made or on their own initiative where they believe or have reason to believe that acts of violence have been perpetrated by such Political Parties, candidates or agents;

4. ZEC to be empowered to warn candidates, election agents or Political Parties against acts of violence perpetrated on their behalf by their supporters;

5. Set up special courts at the Magistrates' level to try cases of politically motivated violence committed during the election period;

6. Request the Attorney General to set up a special unit in his Office dedicated to prosecution of cases of politically motivated acts of violence committed during the election period;

7. Provide for the law that upon conviction by special courts, the court can make a special order banning candidates from further participation in the election process;

8. Special body to closely liaise with the police and with Multi-Party Liaison Committee.

Amendment of Section 161 of the Electoral Act

In order to give the Electoral Court some teeth the Bill seeks to make the following amendments:

1. The Electoral Court is to be given review powers over administrative decisions taken by officers of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission in terms of the Electoral Act;

2. The Electoral Court is to be empowered to hear appeals on election matters against decisions from special courts;

3. Make it clear that all disputes to do with electoral matters are to go to the Electoral Court. In other words, the Electoral Court is to have monopoly jurisdiction;

4. to hear appeals and petitions in terms of the Electoral Act;

5. to review decisions of ZEC or any other person, purporting to be made under the Electoral Act.

6. to have such power to hand out judgements, orders, directions in those matters relating to election matters as currently coming under the purview of the jurisdiction of the High Court.

7. judgements, orders and terms of the Electoral Court to be enforceable in the same way as judgements, orders or directions of the High Court.

Madam Speaker, it is my singular honour that the Electoral Amendment Bill, [H.B. 3, 2011] be now read for the second time.

MR. MWONZORA: Madam Speaker, with your permission, may I present the report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs on the Electoral Amendment Bill. May I advise that when this report was prepared, certain amendments that the minister has now read to us had not been made.

Madam Speaker, this Bill seeks to deal with, among other things, the following issues: voters' registration and the voters roll, polling station voters' roll, postal voting, the role of the uniformed forces, Presidential election results, voter education, election observation and voter education and the voting by illiterate and physically handicapped voters, politically motivated violence, intimidation, the Electoral Court and the independence of the Commission.

1.0 Introduction

The Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs introduced the Electoral Bill to amend the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13). The general purpose of the bill is to make amendments on the following issues: voter registration and voters roll; polling station voters roll, postal voting, role of the uniformed forces; presidential elections and results; voter education; election observation and accreditation; voting by illiterate or physically handicapped; politically motivated violence and intimidation; electoral court and the independence of the commission. The Committee resolved to familiarize themselves with the contents of the bill and to gather views of the public on the provisions of the bill with a view to present a report during the second reading stage.

2.0 Methodology

2.1 The Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs conducted public hearings in Marondera, Headlands, Mutasa, Mutare, Nyika, Masvingo, Chivi. Zvishavane, Plumtree, Lupane, Nyamandlovu, Bulawayo, Gokwe, Muzvezve, Kadoma, Ngezi and Harare. Public Hearings in Masvingo, Plumtree, Bulawayo, Gokwe and Kadoma were partly disrupted and consequently aborted.

3. Committee Findings.

3.1 Clause 5, 6 and 7: Voter Registration and the Voters' Roll

3.1.1 Clause 5 which amends Section 20 of the Act introduces a requirement that voters rolls should be kept by the Commission in both electronic and printed form. The Commission will also be required to keep a consolidated national voters roll at its head office.

3.1.2 Clause 6 amends section 21 of the Act to oblige the Commission to provide members of the public with electronic copies of any voters roll, if they so request, and to ensure that any electronic copy so provided is capable of being searched and analysed.

3.1.3 Clause 7 amends section 23 of the Act to allow people who seek registration on a voters roll to prove that they are resident in the constituency concerned by documents prescribed by the Commission or by any other acceptable means.

3.1.4 The Committee gathered that the Commission must make available to the public searchable printed and electronic voters rolls. There is an option to create a completely new voters roll. For proof of identity and residence, the Commission should have flexibility to require any acceptable means. A matter of concern is that responsibility for the voters roll continues to be shared between the Commission and the Registrar General's Office, which dilutes accountability. The Commission should be given sole and exclusive responsibility for registration of voters and the maintenance of the voters roll.

RECOMMENDATION:1)That the compilation of the voters roll must be done by one organ and in this case by ZEC.

2)That the registration of the voters roll be done by the Commission.

3) That the custody of voters roll be under the Commission.

4) To adopt best practices in the region and internationally.

3.2 Clauses 11: Setting Election Dates.

3.2.1 Clause 11 deals with setting of election dates. Under section 38 of the Electoral Act the President specifies the dates of the various processes in an election, and the section requires polling day in all elections to be between 28 and 50 days after nomination day. This clause will alter that period so that polling day may be between 42 and 63 days after nomination day. The clause will also require the President to specify the date on which a run-off poll must be held in a presidential election if none of the candidates succeeds in getting more than 50 per cent of the votes cast in the first round.

3.2.2 There were mixed feelings with regards to the setting of election dates as some members of the public were of the view that the Head of State should have the power to proclaim the dates of elections while others noted that Commission should have the power to announce/proclaim the dates of the elections instead of the President.

RECOMMENDATION: That the status quo of between 28 and 50 days be maintained.

3.3 Clause 13: Voter Education and Election Observation

3.3.1 The Clause will insert two new parts in the Electoral Act. It introduces Part IXA, which deals with matters of voter Education and Part IXB which makes provision for the accreditation and role of election observers.

3.3.2 The Committee gathered that the Commission should be solely responsible for voter education while others felt that other civic organizations should be allowed to complement the Commission.

3.3.3 The Committee was informed that accreditation of observers should be done by ZEC while others were of the view that it should be done by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

RECOMMENDATION: 1)That voter education should be done by both state and non state actors, in this case ZEC, political parties and civic organizations.

2) That ZEC should have the sole responsibility of the accreditation of observers.

3.4 Clause 18: Police Officers Role

3.4.1 The effect of the amendments made by this clause to section 55 of the Electoral Act is, firstly, that candidates will be allowed to have one election agent in each polling station and another agent outside ready to relieve the first one when necessary; and, secondly, to exclude police officers from polling stations unless they are called in to maintain order.

3.4.2 The Committee gathered that police officers should be allowed within the polling station while others felt that they should be outside the polling station.

RECOMMENDATION: That the police be at the polling stations and not inside the stations.

3.5 Clause 19: Illiterate or Handicapped Voters

3.5.1 The new section 59 inserted into the Electoral Act by Clause 19 will allow illiterate and physically handicapped voters to be assisted by persons of their choice rather than by electoral officials.

3.5.2 The Committee gathered that the disabled, the elderly, illiterate and the handicapped should be assisted by a person of their own choice. Also, the use of Braille technology should be explored to enable visually-handicapped voters to vote without assistance or interference.

RECOMMENDATION: That the handicapped people be helped by people of their choice.

3.6 Clause 26: Postal Voting

3.6.1 The new Part XIV which this clause will insert in the Electoral Act will restrict postal voting to people who are outside Zimbabwe on Government business, as well as their spouses if they too are out of the country.

3.6.2 Some members of the public felt that the clause should be retained as it is and those who are outside Zimbabwe wishing to vote should be in the country 3 months before the date of elections. However others were of the view that the clause s too restrictive as it excludes those who may be outside the country on commercial or any other business. It should be more open so that the facility is available to persons who can show legitimate proof that they cannot otherwise be available on polling days.

RECOMMENDATION: That Zimbabwean citizens who are eligible to vote should be allowed to vote through postal voting.

3.7 Clause 29: Declaration of Presidential Results

3.7.1 This clause repeals and replaces section 110 of the Act which deals with the Determination and declaration of result of election to office of President with the object of gathering into a single section all the special provisions presently contained in section 112 and the Second Schedule for the determination and declaration of the results of a presidential election or presidential runoff election.

3.7.2 The Committee gathered that the results of the Presidential elections must be announced forthwith and not more than five (5) days after the last polling date while others advocated for results to be announced within 48 hours.

RECOMMENDATION: That the Presidential results should be announced within 48 hours.

3.8 Clause 33: Political Violence and Intimidation

3.8.1 The new Part XVIIIB , "Measures Against Politically-Motivated Violence" which this clause will insert in the Electoral Act will require candidates and officers of political parties contesting an election to take steps to control politically-motivated violence and intimidation and to undertake to abide by the code of conduct set out in the Fourth Schedule to the Act.

3.8.2 The Committee gathered that there is need to guard against selective application of the law and to ensure that cases of politically-motivated violence are dealt with on the basis of urgency so that the public can observe the operation of the law in real terms.

RECOMMENDATION: That there is need to guard against selective application of the law and to ensure that cases of politically-motivated violence are dealt with on the basis of urgency so that the public can observe the operation of the law in real terms.

3.9 Clause 34: Media Coverage

3.9.1 This clause will insert a new Part XXIB into the Electoral Act. The Part deals with media coverage of elections and is based on an equivalent Part in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act. The object of the Part is to ensure that news media, particularly the public news media, give fair coverage to all parties contesting an election.

3.9.2 The Committee was informed by some people that there was need for some radios stations such as Studio 7 to be barred from covering elections, while others were of the contrary view.

RECOMMENDATION: That public media give fair coverage to all contesting candidates.

3.10 Clause 35: Electoral Court

3.10.1 This clause will give the Electoral Court all the powers of the High Court in relation to electoral matters such as appeals, applications, petitions and reviews under the Electoral Act.

3.10.2 Members of the public submitted that there should be an Electoral Court to deal with those who make pronouncements against free, fair and democratic elections and the perpetrators of violence. In terms of composition of the Court, the Committee gathered that it should be comprised of retired judges.

3.10.3 The Committee also gathered that the Court should deal with election petitions timeously, that is within a period of six months.

RECOMMENDATION: That the Electoral Court should comprise of retired Judges.

3.11. Clause 42: Polling Station Based Voters Roll.

3.11.1 This clause seeks to insert a new section 22A in the principal Act to provide for the establishment of permanent polling stations and for the preparation of voters rolls based on polling stations rather than constituencies or wards.

3.11.2 The Committee was informed that this system will prevent double-voting and "bussing in" of voters from other constituencies. However, others expressed concern that it may expose voters to pre-election displacement and post-election retribution since it will be easier to identify voting patterns in small localized communities.

RECOMMENDATION: That ward based polling stations are best.

3.12 Commission Independence

3.12.1 The Bill retains provisions of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act on the Commission's powers and governance arrangements.

3.12.2 The Committee gathered that the Commission should report to Parliament and others maintained the Commission should report to the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs and funded by the government.

RECOMMENDATION: That the Commission should report directly to Parliament.

MR. KANZAMA: Thank you Madam Speaker, I am seeking clarification on the issue of councillors, when one aspires to become a councillor. There was an issue of rates clearance with councils. I do not know whether that has been addressed. It seems like in our current situation, most of those who aspire to be councillors might not have cleared their arrears, but they may not have enough funds in their coffers, considering the current hardships we have in the economy and the country. For example, if you look at the issue ya VaMangoma ku ZESA, many of us owed ZESA money, but even if you were to put it as a law that if you owe ZESA money, you will not be able to become a councilor, then it becomes very difficult for most of the aspiring members to become councillors. So I do not know whether that can be addressed. Thank you.

MR. MUSHONGA: Madam Speaker, we have a good Bill before us but the following aspects are worrying to us. Under section 100c 1b, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has to supervise the registration of voters but it is done through an authority, it is not done by ZEC itself and we are worried about that. We want ZEC to be completely in charge of the registration of the voters, not some other authority, independent from ZEC. How can an independent authority supervise another independent entity? We are trying to avoid the current problems we have with the Registrar General that is Section 100c Ib.

We also have the announcement of Presidential results; the winner of the Presidential results, in terms of section 110 sub-section 3(2), is done by the Chief Executive Officer. We believe that the Chairperson of ZEC should announce the presidential results not an employee. Further, the amendment to 22A so that the coming elections will not be based on a polling station voters' roll is welcome. But there are positives, members of the ZEC are to be 8 members, four of them to be women who are a 50/50, it is a commendable development. The independence of members of ZEC is also commendable. The assumption of office of the winner announced presumably by the Chairperson and not the Chief Executive is to assume office upon the declaration or within 48 hours unless that is set aside, that is a commendable provision. So we urge the Minister to re-consider as to who should announce the results. Why should we have the Chairperson if he is overridden by the Chief Executive? Thank you.

MR. F. M. SIBANDA: Thank you Madam Speaker, I need to inform the House that a historian will always quote the past so that the future is corrected. In this respect, former and the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo said "what is in a name" when people were negotiating the merger of PF ZAPU and ZANU PF as some of us who were members of PF ZAPU thought we should have a new name and then the old man, Umudhala Wethu convinced us that "what is in a name." In this respect Madam Speaker, there is this word ZEC, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, I implore the Minister and the House that we should add one prefix Zimbabwe Independent Electoral Commission. By having that name independent, it means that the name has some connotations. When PF ZAPU was amalgamated to ZANU PF, most of us as cadres, did not accept the philosophy that "what is in a name", hence you find out that few people remained and accepted the Unity Accord of 22, December, 1987.

So, what I really implore the House here, is that we do not want to play games, Malawi, Zambia, Nigeria have in their Commission the word 'independent'. So, I am proposing through you Madam Speaker, that we need Zimbabwe Independent Electoral Commission so that it becomes really and truly independent.

The second issue that I want the Minister to respond to is the voting process before one casts a ballot. You queue, you go and verify your name that is number 1, number 2, you are given a ballot paper, you go to the booth and then from the booth, you come back and display to the authorities, what is the essence of what - [HON MEMBERS: Hear, hear] - that is intimidatory because people about a hundred meters will be telling people to say after voting - the paper is transparent, the moment you show the election officers, zvinowonekwa, it will be transparent. So, as long as that thing is there, our process is not free and fair, people will be intimidated, political machinations will be telling people that there is a computer in the sky as long as you vote, people will see you - the moment you display, the computer will shoot and tell that you voted a, b, c. So as long as this system of voting is enshrined in the Electoral Act where there is rampant violence, people will always be intimidated.

I want to end by saying, I do not believe that half a loaf is better than nothing, the whole loaf is important than half a loaf. I thank you.

MR. KAY: Thank you Madam Speaker. I think it is commonly understood that the success or failure of any establishment rests with the leadership. So, that being the case, this House represents the leadership from all the various districts in this country. So, therefore, any legislation or any regulation that limits the selection on election of our leaders must be discouraged. Further, I would like to say that disallowing citizens of this country who are beyond the borders of this country not to allow them to vote is denying the leadership of this country access to the knowledge that we may seek. If you notice that leaders of this country go outside this country for health care, they also go outside this country to have their children educated. So, this being the case Madam Speaker, disallowing citizens of this country that are outside this country, that are gaining valuable knowledge that we can use in this country, is unfortunate. So, why not allow them to vote? The knowledge they are getting is valuable and they will all ultimately come back to this country. Why can you not allow them to participate in a good system of electing the leadership of this country. Thank you Madam Speaker.

MR. MKHOSI: Thank you Madam Speaker, I would like to raise a few issues on this Electoral Act. I am very much worried that while we talk of an election in a free and independent state, we seem to be overlooking a very important element in the process. Our children that have left this country to reside and work in other countries and these children are now being denied their birthright to determine the future of this country because ultimately, they will come back here and deal with the mess that we the elders have created. Let us allow them, they are our children, they should be allowed to come or to vote wherever they are. In case you do not want those that are in Europe to do the vote, why not allow those that are in the SADC. We are members of the SADC countries; allow them to vote for their future. When you vote, you will be voting for your future because the government that will be in place will be there to look after your future. On the issue of the police, I think it is a good idea that the police are now to stay out of the polling station because their presence in there was intimidating quite a number of people, some of the police officers do not associate with people.

Again, the Presidential Election, I wish the announcement of the results must be done as soon as possible so that people are not tempted to take the law into their hands. People will not be tempted to take the law into their hands if the results are announced timeously.

Political violence is another area that needs attention. I wish if we should emphasise that and set up special courts to try those immediately who encourage our children to commit violence. They must be tried and they must be banned from participating in the election for a number of years so that they know that violence does pay.

We set up ZEC ourselves, we are the creators of ZEC, why not give it all the powers to run the elections so that we hold them accountable for their mismanagement. If there are certain bodies that have got more power than ZEC, we are disabling ZEC. We should allow ZEC to play its role as a body that we have created. After all, they went through the parliamentary process in order to gain existence.

The media is a shame. The media has been very clearly biased. I wish they should change their stance now before the election so that all of us will have confidence in the media. There was a suggestion that ZEC must be able to report to Parliament. Certainly, it should because ZEC is a creation of Parliament. Why not report to Parliament instead of reporting to other people that have nothing to do with elections, who are also contestants in the elections.

DR. J.M. GUMBO: I rise just to add a few words to what my colleagues have said about this Bill. I think it is a very important beginning that we have these changes that have been proposed in this electoral law. As long as we are not casting stone, I think it leaves a lot of room for improvement in the future. I only rise to make a contribution in one area and that is the area that our Hon. Chairperson of a Portfolio Committee Hon. Mwonzora alluded to, the issue of people in the diaspora.

My belief is that maybe when we deal with the issue of people who are outside this country, that they must vote and I believe they must be allowed to vote, but it is only a situation that has been created by the political problems that we might have had in our country. Therefore, I think we will just be addressing a symptom and not really the disease. I think we should address the issues that have caused people to go into the diaspora so that in future, we do not have people who can be outside the country in the numbers that they are, particularly like this time. Really, it is cumbersome even for ZEC to conduct elections for people in the numbers of over two or three million who are outside the country. It will not be an easy job. So I still want to believe that whilst that is the case and admitting that the people should be allowed to vote, even when they are outside the country, but we should be looking at a situation of correcting that abnormal situation for the future, but as it is right now, it is important that maybe we accept the changes, the proposals that have been made for now so that we can move forward and try and correct our political situation in our country.

*MR. RARADZA: I would like to thank you for affording me time to add my voice. I would like to refer to the people who are in the diaspora who are so many and who are eager to vote. If my mother dies when I am in America, I come to bury her because it is my right. So, if it is time to cast our votes, it will be the time they should come to cast their votes. Only those who are supposed to come should be accorded time to come. Secondly, people are troubled by the commissions on where they report to. We have so many commissions which report to Parliament through their Ministers, so are we changing all the other commissions because of this one. I am saying that they should report to Parliament through their Ministers.

*MR. CHITANDO: Minister, I want to thank you for bringing the Electoral Amendment Bill. I want to talk about Observer Accreditation Committee which is Section 40(H). In my opinion and the way it has been said, it says that they will be a Chairperson, a deputy Chairperson and one other member who will be chosen by the Commission. I think that those in the accreditation committee, their powers will have been taken by the Executive such that if we look at it, we will realise that firstly, it follows that one will come from the President and the other will be nominated by the Minister who is you in this case. The other is nominated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the other is nominated by the officer responsible for immigration.

What it means here is that the Accreditation Committee will not have a Chairperson and when they have to vote, what it means is that those people who have been sent from the Ministers are the ones in control and they will determine who can be accredited as an observer. So I think that you need to re-visit this issue so that these people are nominated by Parliament by Standing Rules and Orders Committee than to give one person the mandate who is also a candidate in the election to nominate who should come and observe. The President will also be a candidate and can determine who should also be an observer. So I think here we do have a problem. I think it should be addressed.

MR. MUZA: I would like to add my voice to the debate on this Bill where firstly, when we are talking of independence of the Commission, internationally, there is nothing like total independence of an institution, especially established within the governance system of a nation. So we have, as legislators, to be considerate and look at facts and legislate properly.

The second issue is the issue which was raised that ZEC as a body must report to Parliament. During an election, there will not be any Parliament in place and everybody is aware of that and as such, we are saying then ZEC should be the body that is doing everything without anybody for checks and balances. That obviously is misplaced, unless we are saying as an august House charged with the mandate to legislate in this country, we are now lost.

The last point that I want to add is the issue where it was raised that announcements of results must be made by the Chairman and not the Chief Executive Officer. The Chief Executive Officer is reporting to the Chairman. When the Chairman has verified and satisfied himself that the results or the statistics as such are accurate, it does not necessarily follow that the Chairman, who is the supervisor or who is at the helm of the institution must then be the one to announce. He can delegate to anyone just like in any other professional board.

*MR. CHIMBETETE: I have a few words to add to this Bill. Minister, you have talked so much about the police force - that they will not be allowed to take part in the elections. I want you to add, referring to the last elections - in Nyanga South, there were about 100-150 metres gates which had been established. Like those which you find when you refer to the apostolic sect - people were vetted on those gates before they go to vote and people were counted. I want you to add to the Electoral Bill, the law that was put in the GPA, like that one of traditional leaders, that they should not take part in politics. The traditional leaders should not force people to go and vote for a certain candidate.

MR. MANGWANA: I thought I should add my voice and shed light into the process of registration of voters. The authority charged with maintaining a central registry in our country is the Registrar General. It starts by registering someone on birth, marriage, death and they also register voters. Why? Because if the system is properly managed, that same registry will be able to remove the dead voters through the production of death certificates. That process has to be amalgamated, otherwise you will have ZEC with a separate list of people different from the ones maintained by the Registrar General.

What is important is the linkage between the two processes - this is why I think in the wisdom of the Minister - ZEC is now the supervisor of the registration process. It participates in the registration process together with officials from the Registrar General. I think linking them is better than separating them. We should maintain that position.

The creation of voters' rolls which are polling station based - I think it is very good. Since I started voting in 1980, I have witnessed instances where people are actually able to remove the chemicals which are used to ensure that people do not vote twice. In order to avoid future contestations after the results of elections, if we create a voters' roll which is polling station based, your name will only appear on one polling station. You will not be able to vote on three or four polling stations within the same ward. Those who are interested in free and fair elections should support this proposal to have voters' rolls which are polling station based.

The issue of violence should be prohibited - we should all stand against it, we should have sufficient machinery to ensure that no citizen should intimidate another because of their political views or even assault another because of their political views. We do not resolve that issue by encouraging possibilities of fraud. We should deal with each malpractice on its own. Violence is not allowed, it should not be practiced - no one should be punished for selecting a candidate of his or her own choice.

Coming to the rights of those in the diaspora, I think it is not correct to say that they do not have a right to vote. First of all, they must register to vote in a particular ward and constituency of their choice. They can come back home and vote if they are on the voters' roll. As soon as they are able to be in Zimbabwe, then they should be able to vote. The current circumstances of our country …..

MR. MWONZORA: On a point of order Madam Speaker, Honourable Mangwana is a member of the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs. As such, he is bound by the report that I presented. In terms of the rules, a member of a committee cannot submit a minority report. He is submitting a minority report and he is not allowed.

MR. MANGWANA: Madam Speaker, I am substantively debating as a member of this august House. I am not presenting a minority report.

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mangwana, since you are part of that Committee, that report is binding, so you cannot debate outside it. -[HON MEMBERS: Hear, hear]- Unless Hon. Mangwana you want to support what you agreed as a committee. If not, then I am not going to allow you to debate against your own committee's report.

MR. MANGWANA: I am not responding to my Chairman's report, I am responding to the Second reading of ……. -[HON MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Sorry Hon. Mangwana. I am not going to allow you to continue.

MR. MUDARIKWA: Madam Speaker, the issue of the police according to the Minister, he has just indicated that they will be outside. There is need for the Minister to indicate what distance outside. Is it 100 or 200metres? He just said outside - because we will end up in a situation where things can run out of hand and there is need to indicate the distance in the Act.

MR. CHIBAYA: Allow me to add my voice to the debate before the House. Minister Chinamasa, the reason why we are debating this Bill is because we want to come up with the best Bill so that it will address its main objective. I believe that the reason why we are debating this Bill Hon. Chinamasa is that we want to come up with a conducive environment for a free and fair election. So my point here hon. Minister is that there is no need for a person, after casting his or her vote, to show the ballot paper to the presiding officer. Because by so doing, it is clearly intimidatory and the process, even if a voter is to deposit his or her CMED coupon, will be seen during verification. The point I am making here Hon. Minister is that it is critical for us to come up with a Bill that will protect voters and how to protect them. We must make sure that there is security. That security can only be guaranteed if only voters can be allowed to cast their votes freely without showing the presiding officer.

Coming to the issue of the diasporas' votes, I echo the same sentiments that have been echoed by my colleagues on this side of the House that every Zimbabwean, I think Hon. Gumbo is also supporting legislators from this side of the House that, our Zimbabwean people in the diaspora, wherever they are, simply because they are Zimbabweans have the legitimacy to actually choose leaders of their choice. They must be given the opportunity to vote wherever they are. I am sure Hon. Senator Chinamasa, I am seeing him showing signs of agreeing with me, I am sure that the Hon. Minister will actually take my contributions so that we can produce the best Bill and our Zimbabwean people can actually celebrate. I thank you.

MR. MADZIMURE: The case we have as Zimbabwe is that we take too long to do the right things. The issues we are debating here have been debated and a number of countries have moved forward, even those who got independence after us. The issue of the right to vote is a human right. It is a right of every citizen to determine his or her future.

Whenever there are elections in Mozambique, the people of Zimbabwe do not know through the news but they see the people of Mozambique campaigning in this country, mobilising each other. The same applies to South Africa, same when they are elections in the United States, their people here are given the opportunity to do so. The issue of voter registration saying that they must register in their own wards that can be arranged, it can be done.

We must afford our people the opportunity to vote. Most of the people who are in the diaspora are not there by choice, but it was because of the circumstances. The majority of us here have children who are in the diaspora, who are interested in the development of their country. We also get a lot of finances, if we look at the balance of payment right now, the amounts which we use to import things outside and what we export, you find we import more things. More money is used to import than what we produce, meaning that balance is funded by the people in the diaspora and we want to deny them the opportunity to determine the future of this country when actually they are the people who are oiling this country.

When things were bad and we had nothing, we depended on the people who are in the diaspora. Some people are saying they must fly, paying two and three, four thousand dollars to come and vote. The majority of those people are doing menial jobs, they do not have the money to do so. We must afford our people the opportunity to vote.

What scares me is a situation where people are afraid of their own people, when people do not want to listen to their own people. How can we, as an independent country, a democratic country as we always purport to be, be afraid of our own people? You find a lot of people talking about sell outs and the like, the majority of the people especially on the other side, all their children are not educated in Zimbabwe. All their Children do not stay in Zimbabwe. Those are the people, the best education is in those foreign lands. Their children would like to determine their future as well but we defy logic and refuse to listen to the voice of reason.

The other issue which I think the Minister should address and address seriously is the issue of polling station based voting. Our environment as Zimbabwe, in other countries that can work perfectly well, in Zimbabwe it does not work. Apart from that, how can we then expect someone to fail to vote just because the river which is between you and the nearest polling station is full and you cannot cross that river? You are denied the opportunity to vote just because you are supposed to go to that particular polling station. It does not make sense. Even if we want to say let us use this method of ward based voting today and tomorrow we revert to polling station based, we must understand the reason why we are doing it, the circumstances.

I do not see any reason why we should spend all this time negotiating and arguing over a simple matter of where do you vote. We have always used the ink to make sure that you do not vote twice. Tests can be made, we have scientists, those chemical engineers who know how chemicals work. I do not think the number of people who will try to wash their hands can justify denying the people the opportunity to vote and use the polling station of their choice.

The other issue has to do with addresses and the like to prove that you are a Zimbabwean; you have a Zimbabwean registration certificate. You have your I.D., a passport which means you are a bona fide Zimbabwean and you are still required to go and beg someone to give you an affidavit to say you are Zimbabwean, so you deserve to be registered as a voter.

As Zimbabweans, we claim that we are educated, we are an example in Africa, but what we do baffles the mind. You cannot explain this to another person outside to say that I am a Zimbabwean but I cannot go and vote because my headman refused to give me an affidavit to say I reside in his village or someone else has refused to give me an affidavit. I think the Minister, if you are to stand up and defend this in front of an international jury; I think it will not be easy for you to do that. That is another issue; I think it is important that we afford the people of Zimbabwe, those who would want to vote, an opportunity to do so.

The other thing that we forget is that when we fought during the colonial era, we were fighting the system, as Tongogara used to say. These are the systems which we are perpetuating, making it so difficult for a fellow Zimbabwean to make a decision, a decision that will determine a Zimbabwean's future. Why do we maintain the same laws? The Hon. Minister is fully aware of these laws and he knows very well why the colonialists would want to make it very difficult for a black Zimbabwean to vote.

That is exactly, if you look at the whole Electoral Act, it has to deal with issues to make sure that it becomes very difficult for a Zimbabwean to go and vote. Why are we doing that? Why would you want me to go and beg someone for an affidavit to register as a voter?

The other issue which must be very clear is that once you enter a polling station and you are been given a ballot paper, you are given one ballot paper, they would be typed, you do the audit, so once I get into the booth and come out, I simply have to deposit my ballot paper and not even show anyone because we have all the systems to do it. It is so simple, you cannot have any problems. Why do you want to intimidate our people, that must be changed. Finally, the issue of announcing the election results, the Key Result Area in any election is the outcome, which is who has won, who has lost. You cannot delegate that duty to an officer. What will be the purpose of you having a Chairperson of the Electoral Commission if it can be done by an officer? That is the Key Result Area and you take it away from that individual, what you are trying to achieve? I have seen organisations and the hierarchy in an organisation. The role of the most important person is to make the most important and difficult decision of announcing that this one has lost and this one has won. Therefore, it must be done by the chairperson of that commission, you cannot delegate that responsibility. In Zimbabwe, we are reasonably developed and better than the majority of these other countries who announce their elections much earlier than us. How can we, as Zimbabwe go for a month without the results? If what the Minister has said is what is going to happen at the polling station, how information is going to be send to the relevant different centres, it then means, it should not take us more than 48 hours. As we get to 48 hours, we would have already known who is leading and we must be updated as soon as possible, in an hourly basis. We are in a world of ICT's where you can send through the wires and it takes seconds to do that. The collecting is not even done by a person manually; it must be done automatically through the system. Madam Speaker, I think what we must be concentrating on as Zimbabwe is perfecting and not trying to correct basic things 32 years after independence, which we must have dealt with. Thank you.

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: OrderHon. members, I would not like to name and shame any hon. member, please stop hiding behind Order Papers and making telephone calls.

MR. BHASIKITI-CHUMA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would want to thank the Minister for presenting this Bill before the House. I also want to thank him for bringing relief to the Electoral Systems by the proposed changes. I want to commend him for making it possible for Party Members to submit the form and reduce the burden of going around collecting signatures from 5 members and the relief of having members to bring certificates certified by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP). That process will make it easy for members to present themselves and be considered by the electorate.

Madam Speaker, one very important observation in this Bill and its presentation is that, it came about after a thorough consultation and input from the 3 Parties in the Inclusive Government. I could see when the Minister was presenting that there was concurrence from Hon. Mangoma and Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga here present. If we can adopt and get to a stage where we can present Bills in this House, which are less conflict-driven, where we would have had thorough consultations, this will be healthy and better for this House. We do not want to waste time on trivialities. Having considered and listened to the presentation by the Minister, I think there are very little changes which one would propose other than those which the Minister has already acknowledged. The reason why the minister has acknowledged that he will be waiving the polling station specific voters' roll in this forthcoming election. It is a noble idea but it should be pursued after this election because it will perfect our electoral system.

Coming to the issue of the diaspora vote, which seems to be generating a lot of interest, it is very clear that, allowing a diaspora vote from the different countries in which our people find themselves in, is an insurmountable task. As a country at the moment, we do not have the capacity to execute that kind of voting. When we say we have a Ward based voters' roll and you want to go and create it and manage it in London, in New York or in Johannesburg or wherever, it is not tenable. It is surprising to most of the hon. members who are fully knowledgeable about our culture that when you come to a certain point where the family sits down and call for a family traditional brew, that ceremony requires that members come to the place where it has been brewed. In this case, what it means is that, the calling for a general election to those who have interest in their country, they should take leave and come to their respective districts and wards and participate in the voting. They should do it within the confines of their own country or within their own wards and they should come and register to vote. No one and even the law should prohibit them from coming to vote. I think, at the moment, we should not waste time crying about the diaspora vote because, firstly, it is not tenable in terms of capacity and resources; we are not fully resourced to manage the diaspora vote. Secondly, everyone is allowed to come and register to vote in their specific Wards, therefore there is no exclusion whatsoever. In this case, let us be focused, when there are no issues to argue about, we tend to spend most of our time on trivial issues like suggesting that we want ZEC to be renamed ZIEC (Zimbabwe Independent Electoral Commission). We can create all these phalluses, it does not change what they are. It is just like suggesting that we want our Parliament to say Zimbabwe Independent Parliament-[HONMEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] -


MR. DZIRUTWE: The Minister made a very eloquent presentation. Those who agree with him should sit down and then let those who have got concerns address the Minister so that the Minister can take them on board or reject them not to applaud the Minister. We applaud 95% of what he said. Thank you.

MR. F. M. SIBANDA: On a point of order. I think Hon. Bhasikiti-Chuma is now substituting himself as a minister. The Minister will respond to each member who has contributed, therefore he is now responding and reacting to what we have said. I think what the Minister would say is to debate. Thank you.

MR. BHASIKITI-CHUMA: Thank you Madam Speaker, what I am merely pointing out is that in this House let us not reduce the debate at table which has been presented here to mere trivial issues which do not change the substance and content and the material of the Bill. -[HONMEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] -.

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Bhasikiti-Chuma, you can continue.

MR. BHASIKITI-CHUMA: The argument that when a voter gets into the ballot booth and votes he gets his ballot paper, votes and folds the paper and shows the seal. It is showing the seal that it is the same correct paper which was issued and it is never intimidatory in any way -[HONMEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]- Madam Speaker, once people try to bring in this myth to say that they will know what you would have written, that is as good as saying as you go into the ballot box there are cameras 200 meters away which will be seeing you, and looking at how you are going to vote so be careful. This is all catered for by voter education. When we do our voter education correctly and properly, our voter education is able to dispel all these unnecessary myths. So, let us not try to be creative and bring confusion to a straight forward process which does not bring in any of those anomalies.

Madam Speaker, I am also surprised to hear other hon. members worry about who is going to announce the election results when these have been announced at ward level and constituency level and all this announcing and tallying of votes would have been done. There is no announcement of votes which will change the figures given. So, hon. Members I implore you to be mature and not waste our time over trivial issues on the Bill which was thoroughly interrogated by our three political parties, which as presented here is very clear and will make sure we have a very transparent, free and fair election.

Madam Speaker, I will end by advising my colleagues who tend to worry about intimidation and violence. The whole issue is that as we go to conduct our elections, the responsibility is equally on us to make sure that we educate our people and we shun violence. The moment you see hon. members moved by a simple presentation by a member here that we have the Chitandos and the Chiminyas growling like that animal, then you realise that these are the same negative elements which propagate violence outside the House. In the first place, as we go for elections, we do not need violence. Similarly, when a member stands up to speak here we do not need all the growling because you are supposed to just listen and then object, but you find the likes of my colleagues are just a testimony that they want to be the bad apples of a good Bill which has been presented here by the hon. Minister.

Madam Speaker, I want to thank you for the time you have accorded me and I think this Bill as proposed and supported by Hon. Mwonzora, who gave a committee position that we have very little time to waste on.

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Bhasikiti-Chuma. I think Hon. Bhasikiti-Chuma, you would rather confine yourself to the debate and not respond to what the other members have said. The Minister has the duty to do that.

MR. BHASIKITI-CHUMA: Thank you Madam Speaker. All I am saying in very simple and clear short words is that the Bill before us is not worth more than an hour's debate. It is very clear and as members let us do justice to the Bill and accord it the stages it needs to follow. I thank you.

MR. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to add my voice to the Bill from the Minister. One thing is that it has to do with the issue of observers. I think the Bill must address the issue of observers. On the aspect of accreditation of the observer, I think that it is a fundamental fact that this responsibility must lie within the institution that deals with the commission of elections and not the Minister. So, my thinking on that note I propose that it would be good if there are observers with regard to accreditation and all that which lies with observers, it has to be the responsibility of ZEC or whatever name it will be given. I propose that responsibility must lie with ZEC.

Then the other issue which I propose and I think the Minister must look at, with regard to the Bill is, when we talk of polling agents. We have gone to some other countries like Lesotho, the Act with regard to polling agents, the polling agents in terms of payments of the responsibility of polling at stations; it lies with the Government and not with political parties.

So, it is my thinking that with regard to payments of polling agents who would have monitored the process of elections, the payment must be done by the Government and not political parties. This would enhance the responsibility and motivation, and it stops problems which emanate as a result of political parties giving monies to polling agents. That is my other contribution.

Then, on that note as well, I think we must put more emphasis on voter education. It must be the sole responsibility of ZEC with the aid of civic society. That is my thinking because we have seen that in some other cases, there are problems as a result of congesting the whole responsibility to ZEC alone. So, I think it must be open up to have some independent organizations that have the capacity with of course the blessings and the sole responsibility of caring from the Independent Electoral Commission.

Then we look at the ballot papers. I have seen it elsewhere whereby this aspect of showing the serial numbers to the presiding officer, it becomes a non event when you have a system whereby a machine takes serial numbers of every ballot paper which would have been given to a voter just before he gets into the polling booth.

This is my proposition with regard to that. I feel it would be good if we have that machine which will take serial numbers of every voter when he has been given a ballot paper.

Then we have the aspect of a voter who can not read or write, he come with someone whom he has the feeling that he can take the responsibility to cast a vote. I think by virtue of that, there will be trust bestowed on that person whom he would have brought from home. I do not think it is good for us to bring in a third person from the polling station because that responsibility of according that person the faith to the person for him to cast a vote on his behalf, I think it is good enough. So, it is best if we can have the real voter and the person whom he/she would have brought into the polling station to do the part on his /her behalf.

On that note, Hon Minister, I think you will take note of this because I am sure they are coming from a wise counsel. I thank you.

MR DZIRUTWE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I will be very brief. Mine is a bit of a cosmetics really on the Bill. In 2008 there was a lot of confusion internationally on the issue of what constitutes - which figures are attained before a run-off is declared. The figure of 50% of the vote plus one was a bit difficult for people to understand and I see in the Bill it has not quite been clarified. I would propose Hon. Minister that if written as 50% of the total vote plus one vote because in the way you have written it, the one could mean 1% or a unit one vote. So it needs clarity there. Thank you Madam Speaker.

MR. MUNENGAMI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I also want to add my voice on this Bill which the Minister has brought aboard. My issue with the Minister is that he clarified the issue of the security forces voting on a specific date just before the actual election day. But, then he said they would be voting on designated places within the country but then a designated place can also be a barrack of which a barrack I think we all know that to an ordinary person, it is intimidatory. So, I think it would be better Hon. Minister if you can specify those designated areas as long as they are outside barracks. I think that would be fair, but if the designated areas might be within barracks I think it might be a cause for concern to us as legislators. Thank you Madam Speaker.

+MR. G. NDEBELE: I thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity. I want to separate the office of Mr. Mudede and ZEC. One of the members said it is supposed to be combined and I stand to disagree with that one. I would like to highlight that these two offices should be separated.

The Office of Mr. Mudede is supposed to be dealing with people who are under 18 only. If someone reaches the age of 18 years, they have the right to stand alone as an individual and supposed to be referred to ZEC only. The Office of Mr. Mudede will then take that person when they are dead and deal with people who are under 18 or people who are deceased and ZEC is supposed to deal with people who are still alive. Sorry for my pronunciation as long as you understand me.

I would also like to say that there is an issue that when the Principals have passed something, it is considered as final. What I would like to highlight is that they have to bring that to the people, the MPs who meet the constituencies. I want to highlight that they should be bringing whatever they are debating to the House and not deal with it alone.

I would like to conclude by saying, ZEC as I have highlighted before, they should follow Parliament and not the Minister. I thank you.

MR. KAGURABADZA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I have two things that I would like to draw to the attention of the Minister. It is the registration in the Diaspora. On Diaspora, I would like to remind the Minister and all Members of this House that there are people who are out there who went out on Presidential Scholarship, the Scholarship that was presented by the President and now we are refusing them the right to vote. So, the Diaspora people must be allowed to vote.

When there was crisis of money a few years ago, we looked at the Diaspora people and we sent out emissaries to seek for their, what we call home-link so that they bring money into this country. So, what has gone wrong with these home-link people who used to bring money? Why are we refusing them to vote? So, they must be allowed to vote.

Those of my age and who are older than I am, politically, we used to fight to vote. If we fought for independence on this platform, what has gone wrong with it? Why are we stopping other people from voting? Are we forgetting the Universal Suffrage concept? I would like also to refer you Minister on voter registration. The requirements are, if you want to register, you must have your Identity Card and you must have a letter from Sabhuku - the head man. This is creating problems. You are expecting a headman with about 80 or so people to singly write a letter to each one of them so that they get registered? I would like to submit to this House and also to you Minister that by bringing the virtue of having an Identity Card proves that you are a Zimbabwean.

I hope we are not old enough to the extent that we are forgetting things. In 1980, we used Identity Cards for voting. Why are we not using that for registering so that our people can be able to participate in this very important situation? For future purposes, let us make sure that we have our Voter's Roll where we have the name of the person Mushakata and his picture there so that we will be able to see. We have to improve our situation and it is being done in other parts of the SADC. I would like to thank you Madam Speaker for allowing me to contribute to this debate.

MR. NCUBE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to raise a few issues to the Minister or seek clarifications from the Minister. There is the issue of the Army voting in their barracks. Are we going to have our party polling agents manning those stations? If it is not so, we will have the same situation where we will have our Junior Officers being forced to place an X where their bosses would like them to vote.

Coming to the issue of the Sabhukus, we have a problem actually when someone transfers from one constituency to the other. He needs to be cleared by the Headman there and it happens. It happened to me when I transferred from Bulawayo to my constituency where I am now. The Headman wrote a letter and I managed to register as a voter in that constituency, Insiza Constituency. Unfortunately, the Headman was in trouble. He was questioned and taken to the Chief and all those things. He will not be able to repeat the same issue now. We need actually this to be cleared.

The other issue Minister is that we need to come up with a Voter's Registration Card where every citizen that turns 18 must be issued with this card that automatically qualifies you that you are a voter. I think it will make our job easier. I thank you Hon. Speaker.

*MR. TACHIONA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I thought I should add my voice on this important Electoral Amendment Bill, but I prefer doing that in my own mother language so I will do that. Firstly, Madam Speaker when we say Voter Secrecy, it starts when a person has been issued with a ballot paper and goes behind, it is secret. It should remain as a secret until he or she puts his ballot paper in the box but if we say someone should show that ballot paper, it shows that we are now doing the verification of the ballot papers in the station which is very intimidatory because as politicians, we would have addressed the people there two days before that you will be seen by the Presiding Officer when you will be showing the Official Mark. If you are afraid that there will be stuffing of other papers, it will be seen during the verification process because why should you verify the ballot papers during the voting process. That if not cleared is very important, and people will not take it lightly in the rural areas because they are being told by the politicians that their voting will be seen by the Presiding Officer.

From my constituency, we discovered that there are no people who vote twice. We found out that in all the constituencies in which counting was done. I do not know in your office, whether you received that report that people voted twice. The issue here is that if you vote from a Polling Station, the idea is that some people will make sure that some people will not vote from those polling stations because people are known from the areas they come from that they will vote either for ZANU PF or for MDC. So they will not be allowed to vote in those polling stations. That is not a reason, but the reason is that we want to intimidate people so that they will not be found in their areas during the voting process.

What I see here is that if we ensure the voters that there will be total secrecy, you will find out that there will be no violence because they will say, you have beaten me but I will have a chance to retaliate as well because there will be secrecy.

You should revisit item 3 because the process you have put before us does not ensure voter secrecy because people are not sure whether they will vote in secret or not. This is a very good Bill because the people of Zimbabwe want to choose their leaders and when it comes to voting, we should brace for hard times. We want transparency and we should not remain aloof when we notice loopholes. Thank you.

MR. MACHACHA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I do now have much to say because a lot has been said. I would like to thank the Minister Hon. Chinamasa for this Bill. In Shona we say: Mbudzi kuzvarira pavanhu hanzi nditandirwe imbwa. Thank you very much Minister for bringing this Bill into this House so that we share ideas.

Firstly, I would like to say that people's votes have to be safe and should be well handled. We should know our voters and should make them have confidence in us through working together with them peacefully. They need to be respected. If voters are not happy, you will find out that that is when we will get voting results which will be rejected. Minister, let me say that people in the rural areas were not happy with the 2008 results and they do not want a repeat of that. If there is a repetition of that it means there is a problem in your Ministry. What has come from this House is very prudent and I think you should go back and relook at your Bill and amend it so that it comes out as a good Bill. Lastly Minister, I would like to refer to 2008 where results were not announced there and then. If we have a repeat of that, listening from what the people have pointed out, it will not auger well and I think you should take note of what has been said in this House. There are very few areas that need to be amended. Thank you very much Minister.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): Madam Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking all the hon. members who have made their contributions to the proposed amendments. The contributions were genuinely made and I think I am grateful to all the hon. members for their contributions. Allow me Madam Speaker to make one observation, I have not been coming to the House for quite some time and I was surprised by hon. members who were sitting there when they kept on saying we on this side of the House, I actually wondered whether there is appreciation that there are no longer sides to this House. We are an inclusive Government and I do not know why hon. members would not want to accept the reality that we are an Inclusive Government and that what I bring here should be supported from all sides. An opinion expressed should not be expressed on the basis of which party you belong to, but on the basis that you as an individual Hon. Member of Parliament feels that way. I thought I should make that preliminary remark.

Let me begin by first addressing the report of the Portfolio Committee and I think in doing so I will also be answering some of the contributions that were made by hon. members, but I will take the opportunity to address them individually. The Portfolio Committee of course raised the point about why we have the Registrar General (RG) doing the registration under the supervision of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

The first point is that the Constitution so provides but I must hasten to give the rationale behind that constitutional provision. The rationale essentially is that the Registrar General is the keeper of many important national records. He is the keeper of births, deaths, marriages and citizenship registrations and Identification cards etc.

When we are registering a voter all this information is relevant to whether or not a voter qualifies. First we have to know when the voter was born so that we only register those who are eighteen and above, which is what is provided for in the Constitution. We also must not register dead people and that is why it is important for our country to be able to report deaths so that those are captured in the national data. If someone then picks up a dead person's identity card and seeks to register herself/himself this could be easily picked out because the person doing the registration is the keeper of all these records. Citizenship is also a very important qualification for voter registration and the person who keeps those records is the Registrar General.

I.Ds, as you know when you go voting, you have to first produce your I.D card which by the way has your picture, so when we are talking about a bi-registration; in those countries that has that system there is no system of registering citizens of that country. Their only registration is when they want to vote. So, in our case, every Zimbabwean has an I.D and it is that I.D that you produce when you go to vote and that I.D reflects your picture. So, really we have a system of bi-registration which you may not find in other countries. I thought I should make that position clear so that we remain cognisant of the reason or rationale that went behind the provision in the Constitution which provides that; the registration will be done by the R.G under the supervision of ZEC. The R.G has offices in every Administrative District which has all this data and to have ZEC doing the registration means a duplication of all that data which could be very costly and clearly unnecessary.

Coming to the setting of the election date, I notice the Committee is quarreling with the extension of the periods from the current 28 to 50 to the proposed 42 to 63. Madam Speaker, I think the bottom line basically is the minimum period and in my respective view, what is important is that ZEC should find no excuses why elections should not be properly prepared, conducted and properly run. They asked for this period and I see no problem or prejudice to anyone that the period has been so extended. It does not mean of course that the dates will be set closer to the maximum, no.

In fact, as a matter of fact Madam Speaker, it is not ZEC which sets these dates but it is the authority which calls for the elections and as I see it there is no prejudice whatsoever in the extension of the dates to 42-63 from the current 28-50.

With respect to voter education, the correct organisation that should do voter education is the political party because it will not mislead its supporters. A lot of quarrels that we have with voter educators is that they cease to be educators or teachers but take the platform and the opportunity to mislead. Sometimes they even advise will be voters that like in a classroom that they should put an X against the person they do not support. So the correct organ to conduct voter education is a political party. That should be the Primary law and you do it at almost every rally. So, ZEC is also there basically to prepare the materials but whoever will do voter education will do so under the supervision of ZEC and also using the materials that have been produced, recommended and accepted by the ZEC. With respect to police officers I have already explained in my Second Reading speech that what is important here is that in a polling station, there will be the presiding officer, there will be the election agents and there is a police officer. I cannot see anyone seeking to manipulate what goes on there in the presence of election agents who will be as many as their candidates in that constituency. I cannot see any police officer seeking to do any monkey business within the confines of the polling station. What is here Madam Speaker, is we need to provide inside the polling station the checks and balances. The checks and balances against a polling officer are the elections agents. The checks and balances against any collusion of the election agents with the presiding officer is the policeman. So, we need the presence of all those people so that we maintain the integrity of the voting process.

The Portfolio Committee supports of course the recommendations and amendments to do with handicapped voters and illiterate voters and I am grateful to them for that support.

With respect to people living in the diaspora, let me say this right from the outset, they can come and register, they can come and vote but as you know, our system is constituency based. If you are constituency based, it means also in terms of our Constitution, there has to be residential qualifications. This is for a start, but there are other 101 reasons why we are not ready for a diaspora voting and I will just enumerate the few. The capacity to have polling stations in every country where Zimbabweans are is just beyond the capacity of this country. Honourable members will be aware that we have almost about 30 or so bye-elections that have not been conducted because we have no resources. Now you talk about going beyond the territorial boundaries of this country - [HON. MEMBERS: It is because you fear, it is because of fear] -

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order, honourable members.

SENATOR CHINAMASA: It is important; the country has no capacity to do it beyond our borders. Let us, for a start, try to do it correctly inside our borders before we can try to be very imaginative and try to be going for the pie sky.

The other consideration and it is very important, given where we are geo-politically, where we are, we have sanctions imposed against one of the three political parties in the Inclusive Government - [HON. MEMBERS:It was individuals and not parties] - those individuals are senior people in a political party and one of the fundamental elements of democracy is that the voters must be accessible to all those candidates who want to seek office. They must be accessible to all not only to a few. It must not be a hostage population, only free and accessible only to one of us but besides, when you go to foreign countries, you have to apply for a visa and that visa, the granting of it or refusal of it is discretionary in the interest of the country you are visiting. In fact, it will be a playing ground which is not level because all the candidates are not accessible and are not free to travel there. I must emphasise that those who come can vote.

Madam Speaker, with respect to when election results can be announced, I think the provision we have made that presidential elections be announced within five days is a fair one. We are taking into account that the results for the presidential election are coming from thousands of polling stations. The mistake we made in the previous election in 2008 was to allow collection and manipulation at different stages of the collection. What we are doing here now in this proposed amendment is that, each result of the president in a presidential election, each result has got a House of Assembly election, Senatorial and Local Government Councillor must have a polling station number and the result. This is so that if there are any problems we are able to trace where the problem is emanating from. So, it is important and that takes time if we are talking about presidential election because we are talking about election results that have to be collated nationally.

Madam Speaker, there is also provision here that each result at a polling station will be pinned outside the polling station. Additionally, it is also in the amendments that each candidate or your agent will be given a copy of that, written, so that there is no equivocation. There is no doubt in anybody's mind what the outcome will be. The problem or any mistake will be one of addition because each one of us will be given at each polling station what the results at each polling station are. It will just be now a question of adding up, comparing or collaborating with our colleagues in other constituencies to know what the result of the presidential election will be. So, it becomes an issue of addition not of manipulation.

Given what I have explained, to ask that the election results of the president should be in 48 hours, it is really not possible. It is only possible when we get to a point where everything is done electronically. Where in fact any voting everywhere at any polling station there is also automatic registering of how the voting is going. That electronic voting has also its own problems when parties become aware that they are losing because the trend as it shows, there can also become very violent. So again there are benefits, advantages and disadvantages to whether we should have an electronic voting but we will get there especially here because our ICT is developing. As we get to that stage, I am sure that can be done electronically like they do in India.

The committee also felt that there should be fair coverage by the public media. Yes, I agree but I want to add that there should be fair coverage by all media irrespective of whether they are private or public. We cannot have a situation where the media, during election, is being partisan or distress the political positions of any political party. Let us have fair coverage and in fact ZEC is being responsible to ensure that happens. All media, whether you are in the print or you are in the broadcasting, you should offer fair coverage and you should offer debate. You should offer a platform where different viewpoints, current view points, divergent view pointsare shared and propagated and not the voter's choice. They say something here that the electoral court should comprise retired judges, they are missing the point. What is important is to have independent judges, whether they are retired or serving, the requirement and their calling requires that they should be independent and not subject to the influence of any person or interference from any person, that is what I think is very important.

I think hon. members Madam Speaker, are aware that the polling stations specific voters' registration will apply in the election subsequent to the next harmonised elections. But again the rational is very sound and this is the trend worldwide. What is important Madam Speaker is that we should go to an election which many of us challenge, everything must be clear that you have lost and not find any excuses for losing and the polling station specific voters roll was intended primarily to achieve that. First, it is easy to flush out any deceased voters especially those deceased voters who never recorded their deaths to the authorities who register deaths - (Laughter) - and they keep their relatives whose death were not recorded, it is very important. Come elections, we all shout about the deceased persons being on the voters roll and yet we are reluctant to take the initial steps to ensure that in fact that problem is eliminated and in any event you never completely clean out the voter's roll of deceased persons because the moment you call for elections it does not stop people from dying. So come elections there will always be deceased persons on the voters roll.

Madam Speaker, let me now address the concerns raised by hon. members. I thank Hon. Kanzama, he wanted clarification over the issue of rates clearing certificate over the issue of police clearing certificate. The electoral law provides sometimes disqualifications for candidates to participate in an election. On local authorities the disqualification is that you must not be owing rates to the council, it is a disqualification, first you must pay. This is done for a good reason because you are coming to superintend and manage the revenues of the authority and you cannot come when you are a debtor yourself and you come to basically frustrate the collection of that debt, so you must show by example. The point hon. members need to be aware of is that while we are removing the requirement for clearance certificate the disqualification remains so that even after you are elected, if someone picks up that you are not qualified as a candidate, they will take you to court and set aside your election. That I think is the point that the hon. members should know. So even the clearance by the police, although quite frankly I was not sure the basis of clearance by police because under our current law, a person is not disqualified for previous criminal convictions, you could be released after serving 15 years for murder and an election is called the next week, under the current constitutional dispensation you can participate in the election, it is not a disqualification.

This was meant more to assist political parties, so that political parties know whether they have got fraudsters amongst their list of candidates. It helps you because come campaigning those who know that these are fraudster or have previous convictions will make a mock out of you. So the clearances were helping political parties from basically trying to be more discerning and to try to have a cleaner list of candidates.

Hon. Mushonga raised a point about the need for Chairperson of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to announce results. Clearly that is an insignificant issue, the important issue is has there been integrity in the conduct of elections. Are the elections free and fair? The results which are an addition of votes cast is so inconsequential and in any case you would not expect the chairperson to announce the results of the councillors, Members of Parliament and Senators, it is an administrative issue. From my point of view I would think that administratively they can arrange for the chairperson to announce maybe just the Presidential results.

Madam Speaker, Hon. Sibanda, an ex-ZAPU member - (Laughter) - he told us himself it is not something that I am manufacturing. He told us and he is very proud that he was Ex-ZAPU and he is proud that he is a liberator of this country. Hon. Sibanda let me push back your statement to you, what is in a name?

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER : Order Minister, can you address the chair and not the hon. member?

SENATOR CHINAMASA : I am saying to Hon. Sibanda that what is in a name, a rose by any other man will smell the same. All our commissions are called Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Zimbabwe Media Commission that is the name that we have decided to give them and they will not become any more independent because you called them so. In fact a lot of institutions which call themselves independent are the least independent. So what is important is to emphasis that the systems of setting in our selection of candidates of members of these commissions, we have ensured that the people we are appointing to these positions are people of integrity, they are professionals and that they will up-hold the dignity of their officers and the institutions that they lead. This is also a matter raised by other hon. members, why do display the ballot to polling officer and so on, it is again to maintain the integrity of the voting process. You must not close a door after the horse has bolted. The point is, everything is not done openly. When you get into a polling station, you are given a ballot paper, you go into a polling booth, we do not see what you are doing there, we do not see whether or not you have any false paper that is in your pocket which you come to try to flush into the ballot box - [HON. SIBANDA: It will be disqualified] - not after, it has to be preventive. We need to maintain the integrity.

I have already answered Hon. Kay on the issue about the diaspora. Hon. Mkhosi, also I have already answered the issue on diaspora, the issue of the police officer and the announcement of the election results. I have also addressed Hon. Mkhosi the issue why the Registrar General remains ceased with voter registration but now under the supervision of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

The issue about ZEC reporting to Parliament, if provided - but I quarrel with the view that the Minister responsible for the Commission should have nothing to do with those reports. What will they hide, after all when questions are raised here, is the Minister who comes to answer on their behalf, it is not ZEC which will come here. Yes, you call them to portfolio committees, but if you are asking a question here, it is the Minister. So, personally, I believe that yes, Commission should report to Parliament but also to the Minister responsible for their administration.

Hon Gumbo, I thank you for the support of the Bill and the clarification that in fact you have made. He said and I want to repeat, there is nothing cast in stone, what is important is that at every stage we are putting stone, by stone, the foundation necessary for our democracy and for the future. We should recognise of course that we have laid a stone and it is contributing to the strength of the foundation.

Hon. Raradza, thank you for the support you have given to the Bill. Hon. Chitando, just clarification on observers - observers if they are local, it is automatic and we want observers of institutions not individuals. In fact those are more important classes of observers, our own institutions, our own civic society organisations, but when they are coming from outside they now have to understand that they have to subject themselves to immigration procedures, to a lot of other things which is why this Committee is there. In the past there was a veto exercised by the Minister of Foreign Affairs but what we are now doing is that the Minister of Foreign Affairs can comment on the relations between this country and the country which is seeking to come and observe our elections.

On Muza, thank you for supporting the Bill. Hon. Chimbetete, the way you put it as to what happened in 2008, you speak as if you did not win. You are raising all sorts of things that happened 50 meters away and so on and at the end of the day, you are the winner. So, we then of course wonder. The point is there, it has to be some distance away from the polling station for any singing and dancing, that has to be maintained otherwise it can cause friction, it can cause tension during and the process of voting. That is the reason why there are these rules and of course that is why the police are required here to establish a police post so that there are able to maintain spectators and supporters at a safe distance so that the process can go uninterrupted.

Hon. Mangwana, thank you for supporting the Bill. Hon. Mudarikwa, what is the distance from the polling station, I do not have the figures here but you are required to keep a safe distance to allow uninterrupted passage of would-be voters and also to allow that the process should proceed in an uninterrupted manner. Hon. Chibaya, I have already answered you with respect to why we show the ballot paper to the presiding officer after voting. Hon. Madzimure, I have already addressed your concerns with respect to diaspora voting, with respect to polling station, voter registration and also with respect to why we display the ballot paper after voting. I do not agree of course with you that the announcements of the Presidential results are possible within 48 hours. We have provided for 5 days and I think that that is a reasonable period within which collation of results countrywide can be undertaken.

Hon. Bhasikiti, thank you for supporting the new nomination procedure and also the doing away of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and council registration certificates. Thank you also for supporting the polling station specific voters' role.

Hon. Mutseyami, thank you for your contribution. I agree that there should be emphasis on voter education and sometimes the voter education should be conducted not just on would be voters but on would-be candidates. It is quite amazing how a lot of candidates do not know a lot about the electoral law, they do not know about let alone the Constitution and the rest of other issues. It is important for political parties and for ZEC to ensure that there is sufficient voter education electronically and in print so that we are all brought to the same understanding.

I do not of course agree with you that a visually impaired voter should just proceed into the polling station with a person of his or her choice without the presiding officer. Those people in whom we put confidence are the very people who betray us. So, it does not mean that I have taken my uncle to the polling station, I can trust him where he is going to put my vote. So, it is a check and balance which I think we should keep.

Hon. Dzurutwe, you asked clarification on what the 50 percent plus 1 means. This only arises where there is a multiplicity of presidential candidates and where whoever is leading does not have

more than 50% of the votes cast in an election and therefore there are more people who have voted for his revivals than have voted for him, which is why the necessity for a run-off. Once they remain two it will be impossible to achieve a tie. It will be impossible that there will be a draw. The problem only arises where there is a multiplicity of candidates. What basically we are saying is where there are two candidates and 120 votes have been cast which are shared amongst them, the person who wins must have 61, half of 120 is 60 so the person who wins must have 61. 60 is 50% of 120, then the plus then it makes it 61.

Hon. Munengami, there is no polling station which will be situated in a barrack. I do not know where you got that from, it is not in the Bill. You are reading something into the Bill which clearly Madam Speaker is not there. What we said, what is in the Bill is that, ZEC will designate in each ward special ballot boxes to allow for special voting before an election for those officers who are going to run or conduct elections. For those officers who are going to provide security and who are going to be deployed all over the country. That is what we said. There will be no ballot boxes in the barracks. So please do not read into the Bill what is not there.

MR. MUNENGAMI: On a point of order. Through you Madam Chair, I did not say that there will be polling stations in barracks. I do not know where the hon. Minister is getting that from but I did say …

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order hon. member. Can you let the Minister finish his response please?

SENATOR CHINAMASA: My apologies if I have misread him but I have got here that designated stations should be outside barracks but anyway, the point is there will be no polling stations within any barracks.

Hon. Ndebele, thank you for encouraging debate but we are in a very unique situation. The likes of an inclusive government is not very normal and so we must appreciate Hon. Speaker that what I bring is the collective effort of those political parties who are represented in Cabinet but we are not saying they should not be debated, other views should be debated. All we have said is that some of these positions are arrived at painstakingly after a lot of compromises are made and it will not be in anyone's interest to scuttle that understanding. That is all I was saying but views should be expressed and these views will be taken into account for future improvement of our legislation.

Hon. Kagurabadza, I have already addressed the former mayor's concern with respect to the diaspora. The analogy you drew between the 1980 elections and now has no basis. In 1980 we used the proportional representation, not constituency based. Now have constituency based which is good for accountability. At least people have someone to blame or to praise. It is important that there should be a residential qualification. So there is a difference between 1980 elections and now.

I have already answered the picture thing. I did mention that it is a requirement under the current law that when you go to vote you must take your I.D or Driver's License, your I.D or passport with your I.D. All those documents have your photos. Already we have a bio-registration system. It is not on the voter's card but it our national identity card which has your photo.

Hon. Ncube, you also raised an issue about wanting clarification whether the Army would vote in barracks. No, I have already answered you. There will be no ballot boxes whether during this special voting or during the normal voting. There have never been any ballot papers or ballot boxes in barracks. The issue about automatic registration of person when they turn eighteen is problematic in this respect that at the time you turn eighteen, no one knows, certainly the registration officials or authorities, do not know where you are now residing. What is important now is for us to encourage young voters through voter education to go and register and they will register in the constituencies where they are currently residing.

Hon. Tachiona, I have already addressed the issue that you raised in your contribution. Hon, Machacha, I agree with what he has said that there should be respect for voters and that we should not have delay of announcement of results but as long as the delays are reasonable and we think that providing 5 days for announcement of presidential results, we think that period is reasonable. With those few remarks, I want to thank honourable members for their support and I now move that the electoral Bill be now read a second time.

MR. MUNENGAMI: I want to correct the Minister when he said I had earlier said the polling stations are supposed to be in barracks. I did say the Minister only said designated areas within the country without specifically saying where and he has actually corrected himself now when he said that there are not going to be any polling stations within barracks. So at least he has answered my question. I want to thank you for that but the other issue is I think the Minister did not clarify the issue of registration. What Hon. Madzimure actually said, that when you go to register now, what is the point in you going to register with your landlord or with your kraal head's approval letter when already you have got your identification and you know your address? I think he needs to answer that.

SENATOR CHINAMASA: With respect to whether I misquoted you or not, I am sure the Hansard will show -(Laughter)I am sure the Hansard will show, I do not want to take a bet on it but he certainly mentioned barracks in what he said. He wanted clarification, but anyway, it is besides the point.

With respect to voter registration where you are saying you can just take your identity card - like I mentioned, our system here is constituency based. When it is constituency based, residents' qualifications are required. If you just go there with your identity card, it does not show where you are staying. For purposes of deciding, what we have done in this Bill is to allow ZEC the latitude to specify what documents will be required to prove residence. These will include an affidavit from the person seeking to be registered to say he is staying at number so and so. All that is intended to have an equality of voters between constituencies. It is important.

What is important here is that you will be required to produce an affidavit and any documents will also be specified.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Committee Stage: Thursday, 12th July, 2012.

THE MINISTER OF CONSTITUTIONAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: Madam Speaker, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 11th July, 2012.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF CONSTITUTIONAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS, the House adjourned at Eleven Minutes to Seven o'clock p.m.

Last modified on Thursday, 21 November 2013 17:32
National Assembly Hansard Vol. 38 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 10 JULY 2012 VOL. 38 NO. 45