Thandeka Moyo Chronicle Reporter
ELECTORAL amendments that are before parliament fall far short of fully aligning the country’s electoral laws to the Constitution, the Senate Thematic Committee on Human Rights has said. Manicaland Senator Retired Lieutenant General Mike Nyambuya told Senators recently that the Thematic Committee on Human Rights went through the proposed amendments to the Electoral Act that are being done through the General Laws Amendment Bill (GLA).
He said in coming up with amendments, the government had complied with the Constitution which states that no amendments may be made to the Electoral Act unless the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has been consulted.
Senator Nyambuya said the following proposals from ZEC were effected into the Bill: the proposed law requires Voters’ Rolls and voters’ registration certificates to record voters’ sex as well as their names, age and other particulars.
The senator said although it is not mentioned in the Bill, the sex of voters is a useful statistic in analysing election results and any gender bias in voter registration.
He said the Bill would amend Section 110 of the Electoral Act which states that a presidential candidate assumes office 48 hours after being declared the winner. The amended section will state that, in accordance with the Constitution, a person elected as President assumes office when he or she swears the oath of office.
“The Committee, however, notes that as stated by ZEC, the amendments still fall short of fully aligning the Electoral Laws to the Constitution, an issue that the Committee hopes will be addressed in further and more substantial amendments to the Electoral Act,” said Senator Nyambuya.
Senator Michael Carter added that the GLA had failed to address some issues relating to voter’s education and the voter’s roll that includes the question on voting by those in the diaspora, prisoners and hospital patients.
He said the Electoral Court was staffed by High Court Judges whereas the Constitution states that judges cannot be appointed to sit in more than one court.