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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 08 MAY 2018 VOL 44 no 55

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 8th May, 2018

The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.

PRAYERS

(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER

DEATH OF HON. KENNEDY MATIMBA

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: It is with profound sorrow that I have to inform the House of the death of Hon. Kennedy Matimba, Member of Parliament for Bikita East Constituency on Tuesday, 17th April, 2018. 

May I invite Hon. Members to rise and observe a minute of silence in respect of the late Hon. Member.

All Hon. Members observed a minute of silence.

LIAISON AND COORDINATION COMMITTEE (LCC) MEETING

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that the second monthly meeting of the Liaison and Coordination Committee (LCC) for the year 2018 will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, 9th May, 2018 at 1000 hours in the Senate Chamber. 

PHOTO SHOOT FOR ZWPC MEMBERS

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I also have to inform all members of the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus who did not have the opportunity to get photos taken at the launch of the manifesto on the 6th of March 2018 for the Eighth Parliament ZWPC Photo Book that they are requested to do so today.  The Photo journalist will be in the court yard until 1630 hours.

VISITORS IN THE SPEAKER’S GALLERY

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have to acknowledge the presence in the Speaker’s Gallery, of Members from the Institute for Young Women Development in Mashonaland Central Province. You are most welcome [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] 

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE HON. MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 and 2 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 3 has been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

COMMITTEE STAGE

SHOP LICENCES AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 10, 2016]

          Third Order read: Adjourned debate on Committee Stage: Shop Licences Amendment Bill.

          House in Committee.

          On Clause 10:

 

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  I move the amendment standing in my name that on page 2 of the Bill, repeal Clause 7 and substitute with the following new Clause 7:

Section 14 of the principal Act is repealed.

Amendment to Clause 7 put and agreed to.

Clause 7, as amended, put and agreed to.

House resumed.

Bill reported with amendments.

Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order, can we have order in the House.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  Congratulations Hon. Speaker.  Congratulations for your victory in the primary elections.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, can you do that properly.  Order Hon. Member, you are disturbing the procedures of the House.  Can you take your seat?  I am not excited by that one.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Madam Speaker, I move that all Orders of the Day be stood over until Order  of the Day, Number 4 has been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

COMMITTEE STAGE

 ELECTORAL AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 6, 2017]

Fourth Order Read: Committee Stage:  Electoral Amendment Bill [H.B. 6, 2017].

House in Committee.

Clause 1 put and agreed to.

HON. D. SIBANDA:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker.  The Hon. Members here are asking you to raise your voice so that we are on the same page because we cannot hear you.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON:  It is very difficult if you are seated here and you cannot hear me because they are making noise at the back there.  If you want to hear me at the back, stop making noise and lower your voices.

On new Clause inserted after Clause 1:

HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I put the amendment standing in my name that the Electoral Act [Chapter 02:13], is amended by the insertion of a preamble—

(1) The State must promote full gender balance in Zimbabwean society, and in particular—”

(a)             The State must promote the full participation of women in all spheres of Zimbabwean society on the basis of equality with men;

(b)            The State must take all measures, including legislative measures, needed to ensure that—

(i)         both genders are equally represented in all institutions and agencies of government at every level; and

(ii)      women constitute at least half the membership of all Commissions and other elective and appointed governmental bodies established by or under this Constitution or any Act of Parliament;

(c)       The State and all institutions and agencies of government at every level must take practical measures to ensure that women have access to resources, including land, on the basis of equality with men.

 (2) The State must take positive measures to rectify gender discrimination and imbalances resulting from past practices and policies.”

As has been noted by the Speaker, we do have in the Gallery a lot of young women that have come to listen to this particular amendment. The reason why we are raising this particular amendment is that we are asking that the preamble to this particular Bill is taken from Section 17 of the Constitution. As you know, Section 17 is the one that speaks to issues around gender equality. I am suggesting this Chair because if we do put this particular preamble, it means anything and everything else that begins to flow in this particular Bill stands guided by that particular preamble. That is why I am making that proposal becuase it is almost like a back door alignment of our Constitution to our current laws; by ensuring that Section 17 fundamentally then stands in as a preamble that guides everything that follows in that particular Bill. I thank you Mr. Chair.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I do not agree with Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga in that regard in that the amendment that she seeks to put into this Bill pertains to the general rights of women, which I agree with but this Bill is about elections. It is coming into effect subsequent to Section 157 of the Constitution which speaks about the need to put in place electoral laws to govern elections. I do not have a problem in having a general amendment to take into consideration the issues that she is raising regarding the rights of women but to put it there as a preamble to an electoral law does not quite fit into what we want to do. I would agree to ensure that as we go through the amendments, we take into consideration gender issues that may arise. So, I do not agree that we put this there but any other issues will have to be compliant.

HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I want to hold the Minister accountable to the fact that if he says taking Section 17 as an entire preamble is problematic in terms of drafting and otherwise, but that the spirit and principle that says this particular Bill needs to be guided by issues and the principle of gender equality is going to find itself in the amendment, that would suffice. So, if he comes back and says he is committing to ensure that there will be somewhere a provision that speaks to issues of gender equality as a principle that guides the issues that are in the Electoral Bill, I am prepared to lose the preamble as a proposal and an amendment if he agrees. I want him to clarify that he is indeed saying that there will be somewhere where we will read that all the issues in here will be guided by the principle of gender equality. That I can agree to Chair.

HON. ZIYAMBI: The Constitution obligates us to do like what she is saying. So, we have to as much as possible in whatever we are doing take into consideration gender issues. However, I am saying that having in an Electoral Act this provision does not sit correctly. I agree with her that whatever we will be doing, we should take into consideration that pursuant to what the Constitution obligates us to do. I thank you.

Amendment to Clause 2 by Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga, put and negatived.

Clause 2 put and agreed to.

          On Clause 4:

          HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I put the amendment in my name that the Electoral Act [Chapter02:13], is amended in Section 4 (“Interpretation”) by the insertion after the definition of “fixed date” of the definitions –

          ““gender” means the social meaning given to being either female or male in a given society;

          “gender equality” means the enjoyment by women and men of socially valued good opportunities, resources and rewards,”.

          I am proposing that we amend that as we deal with the area around interpretation we include the interpretation of gender and gender equality because it is found within the Bill but that it is properly interpreted. I am hoping that the Minister will not have a problem with that because it speaks to my earlier suggestion wherein he said we do not need a preamble.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I think the amendments are in order and we accept.

          Amendment to Clause 4 by Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga put and agreed to.

          Clause 4, as amended, put and agreed to.

          On New Clause 1:

          HON. GONESE: Thank you very much Mr. Chairman.  As Hon. Members can see from the proposed amendments, this is intended to amend Section 4 of the Act. In that respect Mr. Chairman, I have taken note that the Hon. Minister has also taken on board some of the proposed amendments.  However, there are some amendments which I would like to put to Hon. Members which I suggest will actually improve the Bill.  In particular Mr. Chairman, we see that there is a proposal to substitute the definition of ‘general election’ and I believe that the proposal which I am making makes a lot of sense because we are simply following the definition which is in our Constitution which means a general election of the President, Vice President, Members of Parliament and Councillors of local authorities.

          I believe that there is no harm in taking that amendment on board.  Further to that – [HON. MEMBERS: Taurisa.] –

          THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (HON. MARUMAHOKO):  Order, first of all you lower your voices Hon. Members at the back.  How can you say taurisa and at the same time you are making noise.

          HON. GONESE: Further to that Mr. Chairman, I am also proposing on the definition section that we repeal the current definition of metropolitan council and substitute it with ‘metropolitan council means one of the councils’ established by Section 269 of the Constitution and I think that is a very straight forward amendment.  Again Mr. Chairman, I propose that we repeal the definition of our ‘nomination paper’ and substitute it with ‘nomination paper means a nomination paper in the prescribed form’.  Again Mr. Chairman, I propose that when we are talking of the polling station area, we define it to mean that this is the area coverrd or served by a polling station determined in accordance with the relevant section.  Again, on proof of identity and proof of residence, Mr. Chairman that will be dealt with later in further amendments so that the current definition could then be repealed. 

          Again Mr. Chairman, the other amendments are very straight forward, what they are simply doing is taking into account the fact that our elections are now polling station based and not ward or constituency based and this amendment simply makes reference to it by saying that any reference to the Act or to a constituency or ward voters’ roll shall then be construed as a reference to the voters’ roll for the polling station area concerned because this is exactly the way we are now going to be conducting our elections.

          I want to suggest to the Minister that all these amendments in my view actually improve what is already in the Act and in the same vein, as he has accepted the other amendments, I would really implore him to accept these additional amendments which he had not taken on board.  I thank you Mr. Chairman.

          HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you very much Hon. Chair. Let me go to my new clause 1.  Hon. Chair, I propose that we amend Section 4 of the principal Act by inserting the following definitions:  “Election petition which means an application to the electoral court for the election of a person to be set aside on the ground of lack of qualification, disqualification, electoral malpractice, irregularity or any other reason.  Registration office means an office of the Commission established by it for the registration of voters”.  In the definition of disciplined force, by the deletion of police force or prison service and the substitution of police service or the Prison Service” and the substitution of “Police Service or the Prisons and Correctional Service”;

          (ii) by the repeal of the definition “Electoral Court” and the substitution of “Electoral Court” to mean “an electoral division of the High Court constituted by Section 161”;

          (b) by the insertion of the following subsections after subsection (2)

(3) Any reference in this Act to a constituency or ward voters roll shall be construed as a reference to the voters roll for the polling station within the constituency or ward concerned.

(4) Where this Act refers to a person being registered on the voters roll of a constituency or ward or being registered in a constituency or ward, the reference shall be construed as meaning that the person is registered or is to be registered as the case may be, on the voters roll for a polling station within the constituency or ward.

I just want to address a little bit what Hon. Gonese addressed in his amendments. I want to start with his Clause 1 on the definition of appropriate registration office which we do not accept. We do not have anything like what is in his definition in our registration system because any potential voter can go to any registration office within Zimbabwe, to be registered. So, we do not need to be confined to a constituency or ward to register but when you are voting you can then go to your specific polling station hence there is no need to constrain our voters by saying that we now need to define an appropriate registration office within a particular constituency. I do not think it is necessary. It will only limit our voters as they will need to travel to be in that specific area and therefore, we reject that definition.

On the definition of “disciplined force”, I have already accepted it when I read out my amendment and we accept that.

Inclusion of the definition of election petition, I have read it and we are accepting that and replacement of the “Electoral Court” as the division of the High Court, we accept that. Further, I also accept even though in my amendment I had not accepted the definition of a general election because it is consistent with the definition in the Constitution. That we accept as well as that of the Metropolitan Council. 

However, I would want to say that we reject the proposed replacement of the definition of “nomination paper” which he is proposing. The existing definition is much clearer Hon. Gonese because it distinguishes between references to the Presidential, National Assembly and Local Authority elections. So I implore you to accept that we leave it like that. It makes it clearer as opposed to what you are proposing.

I also reject the definition of “polling station area” because it is not needed. We do not need the definition of a polling station area. It is impossible to define those small boundaries with accuracy Hon. Gonese without causing confusion to our voters. All the voter needs to know is the location of the polling station in his or her ward and not necessarily to define a polling station area. It becomes very tedious and accordingly we implore you to accept that. It is not necessary and it will not enhance anything.

Further, I accept Hon. Gonese’s proposed two new subsections to be inserted in section 4 and therefore, I urge the House to accept the amendments save that on mine, you then need to insert Hon. Gonese’s amendment to deal with the definition of a general election and metropolitan council and it is accepted like that. I thank you.

HON. GONESE: Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. I do not want to belabor the point and I want to take into account what the Hon. Minister said. In that regard, I am happy to accept that in respect of the amendments which he has accepted, we proceed accordingly. However I am not quite clear as to the reasoning behind his rejection of the definition of a polling station area because I thought Mr. Chairman, the proposal which I am making gives a lot of clarity to what we are referring to. When we are saying a polling station area means the area served by a polling station determined in accordance with the relevant section, I am not quite sure why the Hon. Minister is of the view or is inclined to the view that this does not add value. I want to implore him to at least accept that additional amendment and this is the reason that we are discussing Hon. Madyira. It is within my rights to persuade the Hon. Minister to see whether he can accept only that definition. I think the other definitions have already been accepted, so what we just need now is to ensure that, that is now properly captured.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (HON. MARUMAHOKO): First I put the amendments proposed by Hon. Gonese and then the amendments proposed by the Minister.

HON. GONESE: Mr. Chairman, I think for the sake of clarity, the Hon. Minister has accepted some of the proposals and I believe that if it is captured that way, it makes it easier for everyone to follow because there are some amendments which the Hon. Minister has already accepted. I was also going to say that if you put them in the manner that you are doing, it may cause confusion because when people say Aye or No, it is not clear now because what has already been conceded to will not have been captured.  I do not know whether you are with me there.

HON. ZIYAMBI: I think I agree with him. We may end up getting confused. If we can go clause by clause on the things that we have accepted and then we go to the next, it will be better.

          HON. GONESE: Following the consultations and discussions Mr. Chairman, since the Hon. Minister had already taken on board some of my amendments in his own amendments and in this discussion he has taken on board further amendments, I propose to withdraw the amendments which I had made on condition that, when he moves the adoption of his amendments, he incorporates those aspects which have not been previously accepted. 

          Amendments to new Clause inserted after Clause 1 put and agreed to.

          New Clause inserted after Clause 1 as amended put and agreed to.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Hon. Chair, thank you very much.  I think there was an omission.  I propose that we go back to the new Clause inserted after Clause 1 and thoroughly dispose with it.  We had left out some other sections.  So perhaps, Hon, Chair, you can allow Hon. Gonese to go through his amendments and then I will respond.  I thank you.

HON. GONESE:  Thank you very much Hon. Chair.  Hon. Minister and Hon. Members, I have got further proposals and the first one is to deal with the amendment of the current Section 5 in the Act.  In that respect, Hon. Chair, I am proposing that under the additional functions and powers of the Commission, as outlined in the principal Act, we amend it by inserting the following subsections so that the existing section becomes Subsection 1 and then we have a new Subsection 2 which will then provide as follows:

‘That the Commission will have the power to issue written instructions and guidelines to voter registration officers and other employees of the Commission.’ 

I believe that the insertion of this new sub clause will then ensure that we enhance transparency and also, it will provide that all copies of such instructions and guidelines are kept at the Commission’s head office and that the provisions of the Act and regulations will then prevail over such guidelines.

HON. CHINOTIMBA:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.  Hon. Binga is making a lot of noise.  He has called me here...

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON:  Order.  There is no one here called Hon. Binga.

HON. CHINOTIMBA:  Hon. Sibanda here has called me stupid and whatsoever, but I am telling him to be quiet because we want to hear the debate on the Bill.  He is trying to make fun of me and we are not happy at all.  He must go back to his seat because what they are trying to do is disrupt the smooth running of the debate on this Bill.  He does not know that I know how to speak in English.  He must stand up and go back - [Laughter.]-

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON:  Order, order please.  Hon. Sibanda, I am sure if you have visited someone, just please lower your voices and do not involve Hon. Chinotimba in your discussions.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  I am not hearing you Hon. Chair.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON:  I am saying, you have moved from your normal seat where Hon. Chinotimba normally sits and he is now complaining that you are disturbing him.  I am saying if you are not disturbing him...

HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  There are five people sitting between us.

Hon. P. D. Sibanda having stood up.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON:  Order please, I have not finished.  May you sit down please!  Hon. Sibanda can you take a seat!  How do you stand up when I am talking?

HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  So I cannot stand up when you are talking?

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON:  Do you have to stand up when I am talking?

HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  I do not know.  What do the Standing Rules and Orders say?

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON:  Hon. Sibanda, you are wasting our time.  I may ask you to leave the Chamber if you continue doing that.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  What have I done?

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON:  You do not know what you are doing?  You, behave!

HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  What do you mean by behave?

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON:  Hon. Sibanda, this is my last warning to you.  I may send you out now. The Hon. Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, has moved that we rescind the adoption of the amendment proposed in the clause inserted after clause.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          New Clause inserted after Clause 4;

HON. GONESE: Thank you Mr. Chairman, I think I had already spoken to the proposed amendment to Section 5. I will now proceed to the proposal to have a new section inserted in Chapter 2:13 and in this regard, I am proposing that the principal Act be amended so that we insert the following clauses:

I move the amendment in my name that the principal Act is amended by the insertion after section 5 of the following section—

“5A      Assumption and delegation of functions

(1) For the better carrying out of the objects and purposes of this Act—

            (a)   the Commission may itself exercise any function which by this Act is assigned to any of its officers;

            (b)   the Commission may delegate any of its functions to the Chief Elections Officer or to any other of its employees or agents:

          Provided that the Commission shall not delegate any function that has been assigned to the Chairperson of the Commission;

            (c)   the Commission may assign any function which by this Act is conferred on any of its employees to any other of its employees or agents;

            (d)   with the approval of the Commission, the Chief Elections Officer may delegate any of his or her functions, including a function delegated to him or her under paragraph (b), to any of the Commission’s employees or agents.

(2)  A delegation or assignment under subsection (1)—

            (a)   may be made generally or specially and subject to such reservations, restrictions and exceptions as the Commission or the Chief Elections Officer, as the case may be, may determine;  and

            (b)   may be revoked at any time by the Commission or the Chief Elections Officer, as the case may be;  and

            (c)   shall be exercised subject to the direction or control of the Commission;  and

            (d)   shall not preclude the Commission or the Chief Elections Officer, as the case may be, from exercising the function concerned.

(3)  Where a function has been delegated or assigned in terms of subsection (1), any reference in this Act to—

            (a)   the Commission, in relation to the function, shall be construed as a reference to the Chief Elections Officer or other employee or agent to whom the function has been delegated or assigned;

            (b)   the Chief Elections Officer or other employee, in relation to the function, shall be construed as a reference to the employee or agent to whom the function has been delegated or assigned.

(4)  This section shall not be construed as—

            (a)   limiting any other law which may permit the delegation or assignment of functions by the Commission, the Chief Elections Officer or any other employee of the Commission;  or

            (b)   absolving the Commission from responsibility for the manner in which the delegated or assigned function is exercised or for the conduct of the employee or agent to whom the function has been delegated or assigned.”.

          I believe that this proposed section will simply elaborate the powers of the Commission. It will lay out in black and white the directives which can be given to the Commission, the assignment of functions which can be conferred on the employees of the Commission and it also sets out clearly what delegations or assignments can be given.

          Mr. Chairman, it is implicitly in the proposal that the proposed new section shall not be construed to imply that it limits any other law or absolves the Commission for any responsibility for the manner in which the delegated or assigned functions are exercised and I believe that this proposal actually adds more value to our Act in the sense that it elaborates what the Commission can do.

          On Clause 5, I have got another proposal to have a new section inserted in Part IV of Chapter 2:13 that Part IV (“Voter Registration Functions of Commission”) of the principal Act is amended by the insertion before section 17A of the following section –

      “17 Commission to prepare voters rolls

 

After determining, in terms of section 51, the places where polling stations are to be situated and the areas to be served by those polling stations, the Commission shall prepare a voters roll for each polling station area in accordance with this Part.”.

          This relates to the voter registration functions of the Commission and it simply sets out what the Commission is already empowered to do, which is to prepare the voters’ roll.

          The other proposal Mr. Chairman is on Clause 6, to amend the current Section 18 (“Commission to register voters”) of the principal Act by –

            (a)   in subsection (1) by the repeal of the definition of “former Registrar-General of Voters” and the substitution of—

former Registrar-General of Voters” means the member of the Civil Service who has custody and control of any voters rolls, databases and records, or any copies thereof, which—

                    (a)   were in the custody and under the control of the Registrar-General of Voters immediately before the 1st July, 2016, being the date of commencement of the General Laws Amendment Act, 2016 (No. 3 of 2016);  and

                    (b)   have not been transferred to the custody and control of the Commission;”;

            (b)   by the repeal of subsection (2);

            (c)   in subsection (4) by the deletion of “and the former Registrar-General of Voters, in his or her capacity as” and the substitution of “, the former Registrar-General of Voters,”;

            (d)   in subsection (5)—

                     (i)   by the deletion of “may, after consultation with the Commission and the former Registrar-General of Voters,” and the substitution of, “with the approval of the Commission and after consultation with the former Registrar-General of Voters, may”;

                   (ii)   by the repeal of paragraph (d).

          Mr. Chair, I am also proposing the amendment of the current

section 20 (“Voters rolls to be kept by Commission”) of the principal

Act, Clause 7 –

(a) by the repeal of subsection (1) and the substitution of—

“(1)    The Commission shall keep and maintain in printed and electronic form a voters roll for each polling station area, containing the names of all registered voters who may vote in that area.”;

            (b)   in subsection (2) by the insertion after paragraph (b) of the following paragraph—

        “(b1)   where the voter, through being illiterate or physically handicapped, requires assistance in exercising his or her vote, a note of that fact in the prescribed form;  and”;

            (c)   in subsection (4)—

                     (i)   in paragraph (b) by the deletion of “each ward and constituency voters roll” and the substitution of “the voters roll for every polling station area within a constituency”;

                   (ii)   by the repeal of paragraph (c);

            (d)   by the insertion after subsection (4) of the following subsection—

          “(4a) The Commission may prepare and maintain, in printed or electronic form, a consolidated national voters roll and a consolidated voters roll for any constituency or ward, but such rolls shall not be used for the purposes of polling in any election.”. This is more elaborate in terms of what the Commission is required to do in terms of keeping and maintaining the printed and electronic forms of the voters’ roll. What it simply is doing Mr. Chairman is to be more elaborate so that the powers and functions of the Commission are better spelt out so that anyone who reads the Act clearly understands what the Commission is required to do.

          The next proposal Mr. Chairman is on Clause 8, the amendment to Section 21 (“Inspection of voters’ rolls and provisions of copies”) of the principal Act as follows –

(a)       in subsection (1) by the insertion after “voters roll” of “, and

every consolidated roll referred to in section 20 (4a),”;

          (b) by the repeal of subsection (2) and the substitution of—

“(2)  A person inspecting any voters roll in terms of subsection (1)

may, without removing the roll from the office where it is kept—

          (a)   photograph or make a copy of the roll or any part of it;  and

          (b)    make written notes of anything contained in it.”;

          (c)   in subsection (3)—

                     (i)   by the deletion of “within a reasonable period of time” and the substitution of “without delay”;

                   (ii)   by the deletion of “ward or constituency voters roll” and the substitution of “voters roll, including a consolidated roll referred to in section 20 (4a),”;

          (d) in subsection (6)—

                     (i)   by the deletion of “Within a reasonable period of the time” and the substitution of “Without delay”;

                   (ii)   by the deletion of “constituency” wherever it occurs;

          (e) in subsection (9) by the deletion from paragraph (b) of “makes use” and the substitution of “without the consent of the Commission, makes use”.

          The section simply allows persons who may want to inspect the

voters’ roll to photograph or make copies of the roll and I believe that it

makes it easier for members of the public Mr. Chairman because this is a

public document and I do not see any harm in people being allowed to

make notes from the voters’ roll but without making any annotations on

the roll itself. Instead of asking for a copy of the voters’ roll, they can

either photograph parts of the roll itself or alternatively, make

appropriate notes and I am not clear as to why the Minister would be

averse to such a proposal.

          Further Mr. Chairman, I am also proposing an amendment of Clause 9, Section 23 (“Residence qualifications of voters”) of the principal Act as follows: –

     (a)     by the repeal of subsection (1) and the substitution of—

“(1)    Subject to the Constitution and this Act, in order to have the requisite residence qualifications to be registered as a voter on the voters roll for a particular polling station area, a claimant must be resident in the constituency or ward within which the polling station area is situated:

Provided that—

                     (i)   if a claimant satisfies the voter registration officer that he or she is or intends to be a candidate for election in a constituency or ward in which he or she is not resident, the claimant may be registered as a voter in that constituency or ward;

                   (ii)   if a claimant is qualified in terms of paragraph 1 (1) of the Fourth Schedule to the Constitution to be registered as a voter, but is unable to satisfy the voter registration officer that he or she is resident in any particular constituency or ward, the claimant shall be registered on the voters roll for a polling station area in the constituency or ward within which he or she was born or, with his or her consent, in any other appropriate constituency or ward.”;

            (b)   in subsection (2) by the insertion after “constituency” of “or ward”;

            (c)   by the repeal of subsection (3);

            (d)   by the repeal of subsection (4) and the substitution of—

“(4)    A person who is registered in a constituency or ward shall, on demand by the Commission or a voter registration officer, provide the Commission or the officer with proof of identity and additionally, or alternatively proof that he or she is resident in the constituency or ward.”.

          This proposal comes in the sense that at province people whose names are in the voters’ roll can be removed in an arbitrary manner and what the Minister has simply done is to add. At the present moment, there is a provision to have a name removed if it is believed that a person has not been resident in the area for 12 months, I think they have now added it to 18 months.  I think that power should be removed completely and what you then have is a provision which allows a claimant, a person who wants to be registered as a voter, to simply be able to show that they intend to be registered at a particular polling station without having the necessary proof of residence as is currently constituted.

          I therefore move that these amendments should be taken into account by this august Committee of the whole House.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  I want to thank Hon. Gonese and want to start by saying that some of his proposals are already contained in my amendments. However, I just want to speak to some of them that I am not accepting starting with the new section 3 amending section 5 of the Act, which I reject because of the fact that I do not know whether at his workplace instructions are given in writing each and every time. I think it is not standard practice anywhere. Instructions given to employees are mostly verbal and not written otherwise you end up without an efficient administration. Every instruction Hon. Chair, does not necessarily need to be in written form and it is my belief that the most important instructions that require to be written will be embodied in the written resolutions or regulations of the Commission, both of which will be in the public domain.

          So, it is not necessary really to say that the Commission should issue written instructions to all the employees all the time. I think it is not necessary.  Those that are important, we agree that the Commission can issue those directives.

          Again Hon. Chair, I reject Hon. Gonese’s Section 4, inserting a new section 5 and I believe that his new clause repeats provisions already contained in the Act and we do not need to include it.  The Constitution provides for the discharge of the Commission’s functions as does the Sixth Schedule of the Electoral Act and Section 5 of the Electoral Act.  In addition Hon. Chair, it is not good corporate governance for the Commission to do the work of the Chief Elections Officer.  This is the danger with some of the provisions that Hon. Gonese my dear friend is proposing, nor is it good corporate governance for the Commissions to go over the Head of the Elections Commission, Chief Elections Officer and to delegate functions to employees who are junior to the CEO without the CEO’s knowledge.  It will create a lot of confusion – employees getting instructions from the Commission and the CEO not issuing those instructions.  I believe that the House should reject that because it will create confusion and accept the amendments that I have included.

          Section 5 of Hon. Gonese’s proposal, I am also rejecting for the same reasons that I reject his proposal to define polling station area.  Again, Hon. Gonese’s Section 6, we reject his clause which amends Section 18 because you are just repeating yourself; it is there and worded differently.  However, I am willing to accept your amendment in paragraph (d) of Clause 6 and I will refer you to my new Clause 3, Section 3 in that regard.  So, that one is acceptable.

Again, Hon. Gonese’s Section 7, we accept paragraphs (a) and (d) but we reject the others because they are not adding value.  Section 7 is amending Section 20 of the Act and I do not think that we can accept that amendment.  I would rather we stick with what we have already included there.  Hon. Gonese  for instance, in paragraph (b) of your amendments, you suggest that when a voter registeres, the voter must say whether he or she is illiterate or disabled and that the roll must contain a record of that fact.  I believe Hon. Members that this is not possible and it is not necessary.  Why should we have a clause that dictates that?  Some voters may become literate after the registration process, yet they have registered and indicated that I am illiterate or maybe they may be disabled and be healed after registration.  I do not think that it is a clause that is necessary Hon. Gonese.  It is only during the election time that you need to indicate whether you are illiterate or you need assistance and not when you are registering.  Things may change between registration and voting.

Again paragraph (c) of Hon. Gonese’s amendment is not needed because this amendment and others like it relating to polling station specific voting have already been made in anticipation of establishing the polling station specific system of voting in 2012.  You will remember Hon. Gonese when the Electoral Amendment Bill was done; we included this in anticipation of the BVR and polling stations specific.  So, they are already there.

In this connection, I urge Members to see Section 42 of the Electoral Amendment Act No. 3 of 2012.  Those amendments were suspended until the completion of the new Voters’ Roll.  So, once the new Voters’ Roll comes into play, those provisions will be in play.  The law reviser has now incorporated those amendments into the consolidated Electoral Act. 

Again, Section 8 of Hon. Gonese amending Section 1, we have adopted his proposals contained in his paragraph (c); 2, paragraph (d) and paragraph (e).  In other words, we have accepted all your proposals there Hon. Gonese – they make sense.  However, I reject the idea of people coming in with their smart phones and taking photographs of the roll.  I am sure Hon. Members are aware that in the social media, we have seen statements attributed to certain organisations and the moment we bring these smart phones to come to take pictures of the Voters’ Roll, we will end up with photo-shopping happening and we will have several versions of the roll awash in the media.  I do not think that it is a good idea to play around with this technology.  So, I reject that.  The Voters’ roll can be inspected and you can take notes but photographs involve a lot of dangers and privacy and there is also the risk of photo-shopping of entries in the Roll through the social media.  It is very dangerous and I do not think that it is something that can be acceptable.

Hon. Gonese’s Section 9 amending Section 23 of the Electoral Act, again I think you should accept my amendments and reject this proposal especially the one that says that if a claimant for a registration as a voter cannot prove his or her residence in a constituency, the claimant shall be registered on the Voters’ Roll for a polling station in the ward in which he or she was born or in any ward whatsoever with his or her consent.  Hon. Members, I think you can see what mischief this will cause because if someone cannot even prove residence, how can he prove the place of birth.  You do not even know where you stay and you are able to identify where you were born, it is something that is not achievable.  If someone was born in Mutare where Hon. Gonese was born but never lived there, how can he or she be said to be a resident of Mutare?  It does not make a lot of sense and it means that we need to revisit even the Constitution and it makes nonsense of the residence requirements and of democratic residence based on representativity.

Failure to prove residence means that one is of no fixed aboard and if you look at our voting pattern, if you go to Section 92, it says you are registered in a particular constituency according to certain residence’ requirements that are specified in the Constitution.  I think failure to prove residence means that one is of no fixed aboard and it is almost impossible under our voter registration regulations for someone not to prove residence somewhere and somehow.  We have relaxed it so much that you can even fill in an affidavit. So opening it up to say just allow them, I think it is too dangerous and there is a lot of mischief that may happen.  However, Hon. Gonese we are agreeable to ease the residence requirements so that a person can be removed like you rightly said, after 18 months instead of 12 months – that we can do and we increase the period.  So, I submit that Hon. Chair, can we adopt the amendments in my name, that includes some of the issues that Hon. Gonese has indicated and we proceed.  I thank you.

HON. GONESE:  I want to respond.  The Minister has made submissions and I am entitled to reply to some of the submissions that he has said.  Firstly Mr. Chairman, I think my dear friend has not read carefully my proposed amendment.  I could see from his response in respect of the proposed amendment to Section 5 that he has not gone over it carefully because the impression that he has is that the Commission will be enjoined to give written instructions.  If you read it carefully Hon. Minister, can you have regard to the amendment?

Hon. Minister, go over what I have proposed carefully, I am not suggesting that the Commission is required to give written instructions.  All I am saying is that the Act should have that provision.  In other words, the Commission shall have power to issue instructions; it is just the power which is going to be conferred on the Commission.  It will be up to the Commission to decide whether they want to give those written instructions or not.  So, what we are simply saying here is, so from the Minister’s response, I would tell clearly that he was under the mistaken belief that my proposal is that the Commission must issue written instructions, that is not what I am suggesting.  I am simply saying that the Commission should be empowered and it will be up to the Commission to decide as to when they want to give written instructions and as to when they want to give verbal instructions.

          I would then suggest to the Hon. Minister that after carefully reading of my amendment, you will see that his response was at tangent from what I have actually suggested.  Further to that Mr. Chairman, in respect of those people who may be literate, I think the mischief which the Minister must be aware of is that there are people who have been intimidated to the extent that you find teachers and other professionals actually coming to a polling station and saying that they are illiterate simply because they have been told that we want to know where you have voted.  This is the mischief that we are trying to cure by saying that at the time of registration, people can then indicate if they need assistance at the time of voting so that if it is recorded then it is then known. 

          Whilst I understand the Minister’s explanation but it does not resolve the question of intimidation which I am referring to because this has what has caused problems in the past where you have people in some areas being told that they must pretend that they cannot read or write so that certain people will then know exactly how they would have voted.  That proposal will partly take care of that problem so that in advance we then know who requires assistance and who does not require assistance.

          Then the power to remove people from the voters’ roll, I believe that the way it is couched is too wide.  I think that the way I had proposed would simply ensure that only those people where there is adequate evidence that they need to be removed from the voters’ roll can be removed. At the present moment, the powers given to remove people’s names from the voters’ rolls is too wide.

          Lastly, but most importantly, I would say to the Minister, he is aware of the difficulties that a lot of voters went through in trying to liaise.  He talked about the affidavit, it is not easy sometimes particularly in urban areas and also in rural areas where people can get letters from their traditional leaders and so on.  The challenge sometimes has been that those people have not been cooperation, they have not cooperated with the people whom they are supposed to assist.  Considerable difficulties were experienced by many people and I believe that simplification of that process, obviously when I am talking of where someone was born, it is not preemptory that that is where the person is going to be registered. It gives an alternative, either a person can indicate that I was born in such and such a place and usually the birth certificate will actually provide the necessary evidence.  Alternatively the person can then indicate the appropriate voters’ roll where they can be registered.  I want to refer the Hon. Minister to the Constitution, the Fourth Schedule which talks about the residences’ qualifications, is very clear Hon. Minister and I will read it so that you are in no doubt as to what I am saying. “The electoral law may prescribe additional residential requirements to ensure that voters are registered on the most appropriate voters’ roll but any such requirements must be consistent with this Constitution in particular with Section 67”.  Section 67 is the one which gives all Zimbabwean citizens the right to vote.

          In other words, the Fourth Schedule does not in any way suggest that people should be required to provide proof of residence but rather that they should then show where the most appropriate voters’ roll is and not to prevent people from voting.  The current requirements Mr. Chairman end up in people being disenfranchised because they are not able to prove.  I am saying that this issue of people having to prove is not necessary because most people do not have their own places of residence and there are times where they are unable to get a landlord to sign.  In any event even if a person is of no fixed aboard, that does not take away their right to vote because the right to vote is sacrosanct and it is very clear in section 67 that it is supposed to be enjoyed by all Zimbabwean citizens.  For these reasons Mr. Chairman, I would ask the Minister to have a change of heart.

          HON. ZIYAMBI: I have heard Hon. Gonese trying to justify why written instructions should be given.  If you read what he says in his amendment, he is speaking of ‘the Commission shall have power to issue written instructions’.  I still maintain that the way it is couched, it means that they have to issue those instructions.  However, if he is speaking about the general functions of ZEC, they already have that power anyway according to the Act; they have that power so why are we putting it there to say that they have to do that.  They have a general power already within their Act and the Constitution to say that they can issue instructions.  What we cannot have is putting it there and rendering the function of the CEO redundant.  The CEO is the one who is responsible for the day to day functions of the Commission and the Commissioners issue directives and regulations that will guide.  We are in agreement there to say that whatever mischief that you want corrected by written instructions coming from the Commission is already there.  It is accepted that if you look at the broad mandate from the statute, they have that and we do not have to labour ourselves with something that is there.  So, I still believe that we need to reject this.

          You spoke about assisted voters to say that people are intimidated and then they are told to say that they are illiterate.  Again, Hon. Chair my position is still the same, I maybe illiterate today, tomorrow I will be literate.  I may be an able bodied today, tomorrow I will be disabled.  Then you are saying on the voters’ roll, let us have a list of disabled people.  So, when I go to vote, I am now disabled today and you are making it cumbersome for me.  We have to deal with issues of intimidation separately but we cannot smuggle issues that do not help the disabled and the illiterate by way of smuggling those issues into the Electoral Act and in that regard I implore my Hon. Member here to accept the amendments that are contained in my amendments.  Again he speaks passionately about the need to ensure that we do not remove those that do not have addresses on the voters’ roll.  He goes on to quote the Fourth Schedule to say that the Schedule speaks about additional residential requirements and I like what the Fourth Schedule says, it says additional meaning that they are there.  You cannot have an additional when something is not there.  So, it means the residential requirements are already there and the Fourth Schedule is speaking about additional and I also want to refer the Hon. Member to the effect that if you look at it, Zimbabwe is divided into 210 constituencies which are within Zimbabwe according to the population.  After every census, you have a feeling that they are there. You cannot have an additional where something is not there. So, it means the residential requirements are already there. The Fourth Schedule is speaking about additional and I also want to refer the Hon. Member to the effect that if you look at it, Zimbabwe is divided into 210 constituencies within Zimbabwe and that is done according to population results after every census. The constituencies are divided according to the population that is within Zimbabwe and if you even go to Section 92, it says; “the President is voted for by registered voters within Zimbabwe”. That is what the Constitution says. So, what Hon. Gonese is suggesting to us is, we must amend the Constitution so that what he is saying can be fitted in, because the residential requirements are additional to what is already there. He speaks about Section 67 of the Constitution on Political Rights but it says, “subject to this Constitution” that is to say, subject to the Fourth Schedule among other provisions. It is not the Fourth Schedule alone but other provisions of the Constitution also. So you need to look at it in its totality and not picking certain sections and saying that, just because Section 67 is affording you political rights, the Fourth Schedule is talking about this; it says subject to this Constitution and other provisions. Hence, I believe that our amendments are very progressive and they will allow for the holding of free, fair and credible elections. More-so, these amendments are not adding anything materially that will alter our electoral laws and I so submit Mr. Chairman.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: I put the new clause inserted after Clause 1 by the Hon. Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Hon. Chair, I have already walked through my new clause inserted after Clause 1 when I was dealing with the clauses that have been proposed by Hon. Gonese and I submit that we adopt the new Clause inserted after Clause 1. I thank you.

Amendments to new Clause inserted after Clause 1, put and agreed to.

New Clause inserted after Clause 1, put and agreed to.

On Clause 2:

          HON. GONESE: Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. I am putting forward the proposed amendments. The first one is a proposed amendment to Clause 2 between lines 7 and 21 on page 1 of the Bill, to delete the clause and to substitute it with a new section which will be substituting Section 24 of the Act that relates to claims for registration. Basically it will be providing that any person who wishes to be registered as a voter in a constituency or ward shall present herself or himself at a registration office for the prescribed claim form to be completed on his/her behalf by the voter registration officer. But if the claimant in accordance with the proviso to Section 23 (1) seeks registration in a constituency or ward in which he or she is not resident but for which he or she intends to be a candidate for election, the claimant shall lodge a claim form with the Commission and shall provide the Commission with an address in that constituency where he or she shall be deemed resident.

          This Mr. Chairman and Hon. Minister, is to simplify matters. I remember the experience that Hon. Guzah had when he stood in Hurungwe West. With this provision, it will then make it easy for any person who aspires to represent a constituency where they are not resident to simply present the claim form and the commission will simply accept it. As a result they will be registered and deemed to be residing at an address in the constituency for which they intend to stand for election and that is the essence of that amendment.

          The other proposal Mr. Chairman, is simply to give more flexibility when it comes to registration as a voter and I think that takes care of the proposed amendments Mr. Chairman.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you very much Hon. Chair. I think most of the issues that he is dealing with are already covered in the amendment. Suffice to say that in the new system that we have, you can register anywhere and the issues of transferring are already catered for. Therefore I am rejecting this amendment because it does not add any value.

Amendment to Clause 2, put and agreed to.

On Clause 2, now Clause 8:

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I propose the amendment of Clause 2 which now becomes Clause 8 in the Bill and Clause 2 which will now be renumbered as Clause 8 on page 1 of the Bill to delete in Subsection 1 sought to be inserted by the Bill on line 13, the words “at the appropriate registration office” and substitute it with “any registration office”. In other words what we are simply saying is that in the registration process, you can now register anywhere and your registration will be transferred to your appropriate constituency or polling station. In Clause 2, now to be renumbered Clause 8 on page 1 of the Bill, delete in proviso to 1 to Subsection 140 to be inserted by the Bill on line 16 the words “appropriate registration office”.

Again all this has to do with the fact that, now you can register anywhere, so we need to indicate that in the Bill, that at the registration office and not ‘at the appropriate registration office,’ because you can now register anywhere and your registration can be transferred to your respective polling station.  I so submit Hon. Chair.

          Clause 2, as amended put and agreed to.

          THE HON. MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Chair.  I submit amendment of Clause 3, which will now be Clause 9 and in Clause 3, which should be renumbered as Clause 9 on Page 2 of the Bill, to delete, in Subsection 1, so to be inserted on line 8, the words, “at the appropriate registration office,” and substitute with, “at any registration office.”  Again, Clause 3 now renumbered Clause 9 on Page 2 of Bill, delete in proviso… this is the same, we have repeated this.  Delete in proviso to subsection 1 so to be inserted by the Bill on line 13, the words, “at the appropriate registration office,” and substitute with “at the registration office.”… I think we have done this.

          New Clause to be inserted after Clause 3

          HON. GONESE: Thank you Mr. Chairman.  I am proposing that we have new clauses inserted after Clause 4, firstly between the lines 38 and 39 on Page 2 of the Bill, to insert the following clauses;

          Firstly, it will repeal the current Section 37 (b) of the Act and then it will amend Section 37 (c) of the Act.  In addition, it will amend Section 40 (b).  However, the most critical sections are the new sections to be substituted, Sections 40 (c) and 40 (d).  These relate to the issue of voter education.  I think the current provisions Mr. Chairman; make it difficult for people to get adequate voter education, the current Act is too restrictive.

          I believe that, firstly, Hon. Minister, I am sure you will agree with me that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) on its own does not have the necessary capacity to really impart voter education to all and sundry.  I believe that is one of the reasons why you had a low voter registration turnout in the initial phases because most people were not even aware of what was taking place.  I believe that it is important to broaden the scope of the persons who can impart voter education. Currently it is limited to the Commission and political parties. 

In my respectful submission, while it is important to have political parties conduct voter education, they are not the most appropriate of bodies or organs to impart voter education, firstly because they are biased.  Secondly, they are usually confined to their own members and they will not be able to impart voter education to people who do not belong to their political parties. In this regard, I want to suggest that these amendments will have the effect of making it easier for non-governmental organisations and other persons – it is in sync with the provisions of our Constitution, freedom of association, it allows other players to conduct voter education without a lot of hindrance.

I think it is not necessary for the Commission to have the powers which are currently enshrined in the Act.  I think it is better to relax those powers so that what is just required is that, the Commission as provided for in the amendment, shall simply provide programmes for voter education and what the role of the Commission will be, will be to simply ensure that those who are conducting voter education are able to do so in a manner which is satisfactory to the Commission, but bearing in mind that other players are allowed to conduct voter education. 

I believe that the requirement which is already in the act where foreign funding is prohibited, I think that should be relaxed because it is imperative that citizens of Zimbabwe get the best available education in terms of the process of voting and to also deal with issues of intimidation.  You will find that we had a lot of challenges with people being asked to surrender their voter registration slips and this was very intimidating.  I therefore propose that those sections be repealed, like Section 40 (f) which relates to foreign contributions and also amendment of Section 40 (g), which relates to accredited observers. 

Mr. Chairman, I believe that it is important that the Commission have more power in terms of accreditation.  In this regard, if we amend Section 40 (h), we then make it clear that whilst the Executive will still have a role to play, we are now reducing the number of members of that accreditation committee to three and we will have more members from the Commission itself, which will be the Chairperson, the Deputy Chairperson and three other Commissioners so that we will have the members from the Commission outnumbering the members of the Executive.

I suggest that when it comes to the role of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, there is a difference between observing and monitoring.  I believe that since the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission has got the right to ensure compliance with provisions relating to human rights, their power – I notice that the Minister in his amendments, wants the Human Rights Commission simply observing.  I am proposing that it must monitor, because monitoring implies that it can then have power to intervene.

          HON. MATANGIRA: On a point of order! Thank you Hon. Chair. I thought what we are discussing here is serious business.  We need to hear what the speaker is saying so that when we debate, we know how to respond as to what has been said.  So, please can we have order and silence?

          THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: So, in other words you are calling for order? It has to start with you.  Order, order!

          HON. GONESE: I think I was now dealing with the issue of monitoring as opposed to observing.   I think the difference between my amendment and that of the Minister is just on one word, monitoring and observing.  I am saying that in so far as the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission is concerned, we must differentiate it from other observers in the sense that the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission in terms of the Constitution has got responsibility to ensure that our Human Rights are observed.  In so far as that aspect is concerned, when it comes to elections, I think that the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission cannot be equated to other observers.  What we need is to empower the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to the extent that it monitors elections.   If there is any problem which they notice, they can then intervene and give direction as opposed to the other observers who can simply observe and take note of what is happening.  The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission is a different animal to all the other observers.   So, this is where I wanted to place so emphasis and say to the Hon. Minister, on this aspect, let us change that from a mere observation to monitoring.

          On the printing of ballot papers; I note that we are in agreement with the Minister in terms of a proposed Section 52 A.  However, I will anticipate another proposal which I had made on the printing of ballot papers, and I think this one is very critical.  Already, there has been a lot of debate about it. I am proposing a Section 52 B of the amendment.  In essence, Hon. Chair, when it comes to the printing of ballot papers, it must not be done in secret, because already there is a florore regarding what ZEC has already done.  I want to suggest that we need a provision in the Act which is specific, which clearly speaks to the issue of the printing of ballot paper. 

          I am going to refer the Minister to the proposed amendment on the printing of ballot of paper.  My suggestion is that the Commission shall call for a competitive tender to print ballot papers and all related electoral material, this must also extend to the procurement of the indelible ink, the supply of the ballot boxes, it must be transparent.  Everyone must know who is going to supply those and there must be agreement between  all the parties concerned and this can only be done where a tendered has been floated as opposed to the current situation where we are already hearing that ZEC has secretly and clandestinely appointed a printer for the ballot papers. 

          Whilst I commend the Minister for accepting that we have a provision in the Act which limits the number of ballot papers which are going to be printed, I want to go a step further and say that it is imperative that there must be a competitive tender so that we put to rest all the suspicions.  There have been suspicions which the Minister is aware of, that there have been ballot papers where you can put your X which can mutate and go to another position.  We want to put to rest all those fears and suspicions.  The only way we can do it is when all know who is going to print the ballot paper and we can test it together.  I suggest to the Minister that he must then look at it seriously so that this debate which we are having is allayed and there is no suspicion that anything untoward is going to take place. 

          There has been talk of NIKUV which everyone knows and we want to have a situation where there is no dispute regarding the elections.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): For the purposes of hygiene, there is a section that we had omitted to put to the House.  So, before I respond, with your indulgence Hon. Chair, can we do that?

          Clause 3, as amended put and agreed to.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. Chairman for your indulgence to correct that.  Allow me to proceed to deal with Hon. Gonese’s submissions on Clause 3.  I want to first of all address his proposed amendments to Section 26 of the Electoral Amendment concerning voter registration certificates, I think he is going to agree with me.  His amendment to say that you cannot vote using only voter registration certificate without being on the roll is not necessary anymore because in the Bill, in Clause 5, we will repeal the proviso to Section 56 (1) which says that you can use such a certificate if you are not on the roll.  So we have already taken care of the use of voter registration slips.  I am sure he can agree with me that has been overtaken. 

I also want to humbly reject Hon. Gonese’s amendment to Section 26 (a) of the Act to say that potential voters cannot register later than twelve days before nomination day at any general election.  Hon. Gonese, why do we need this amendment because it is not necessary?  The amendment that I am proposing is much clearer.  If you look at it, we are saying once the nomination day has been set, two days after that, registration closes for that particular election.  It is clearer and you do not need people to carry calculators, so that one I think it is okay – [HON. GONESE:  I agree.] – Thank you very much.  I will deal with some of the clauses that I will be proposing to replace. 

My new Clause 11 which replaces Section 32 of the Act which will transfer the responsibility for removing duplicates registration from the registration officers to the Commission.  I am sure Hon. Gonese will agree that only the Commission should have the power to de-duplicate the roll which they are now capable of doing under the new BVR system. 

However, Hon. Gonese’s amendment of Section 33 of the Act, I reject it.  That section is important for the integrity of the Voters’ Roll to prevent double voting by removing the dead and those that are absent or disqualified from the roll.   I am not sure whether the Hon. Member would not want those removed; those that are dead, those that are absent, some may be disqualified to vote in elections.  I am sure you will agree with me that we just need to tighten it and bring hygiene to our Voters’ Roll.  I however accept Hon. Gonese’s amendment to Section 35 of the Act.  These are the ones about enabling the voters to complain to the Commission or to appeal to a designated magistrate if the voter is aggrieved by the decision of the Commission or for a voter registration officer to alter the Voters’ Roll, there I agree Hon. Gonese.   Thank you for that.

I will however, reject Hon. Gonese’s replacement of Section 36 of the Act.  Why should we clutter the electronic roll with duplicated names that we would have removed?  Once we have cleaned it, it is okay. Why should we keep what we have cleaned?  I am sure if you have cleaned your clothes, you do not keep the dirty water; you throw it away.  Once we clean the Voters’ Roll - there is no need to confuse the electoral officers, voters and candidates.  It is poor electoral administration to keep it.  I appeal to you to accept that we need to remove them from the Voters’ Roll and I think such alterations should only be shown on a printed roll if you so wish but we do not need those.

I go to subheading E, new clause inserted after Clause 4.  Again, I accept Hon. Gonese’s repeal of Section 37 (b) of the Act, although that amendment is not concerned in my notice of amendments.  This is because we realise that Section 37 (b) is not aligned to the new provisions on delimitation which are contained in Section 161 of the Constitution.  However, Hon. Gonese, I reject entirely the amendment of Section 37 (c) of the Act.  Electoral boundaries, Hon. Members, are not stable but are fixed periodically by the Commission through delimitation, whereas administrative boundaries and offices, you will agree, ought to be fixed and readily identifiable by the public.  For this reason, Hon. Gonese, district offices are the most convenient points of reference for electoral centres.  In this connection, I would urge the Members that we bear administrative conveniences in mind when elections are concerned.  Amendments that are out of step with administrative convenience are a nightmare and I think Hon. Gonese will agree with me, for the Commission and for electoral staff.

Hon. Gonese’s proposed amendment to the voter education provisions in Section 40 (b) (c) and 40 (e) of the Act are rejected.  I believe that voter education offered by our political parties is a matter for them to pursue, if they want to pursue such education on partisan lines but it is not acceptable for foreign or domestic bodies masquerading as NGOs to do that.  Therefore, the Commission must have a role to monitor such bodies to ensure non-partisan voter education is given to our people. 

However, as a concession, Hon. Gonese, we will repeal Section 40 (f) of the Act that says, foreign contributions or donations for the purposes of voter education must be channelled to the Commission for distribution.  Hon. Members, I want to distinguish between voter education and civic education.  You cannot take away voter education from the Commission in that voter education pertains to a specific electoral process whereas civic education, anyone can do and we are not legislating against that.  We are saying, people cannot come from anywhere and start offering voter education without going to the people that are administering the election for guidance.  You need to know when elections are starting, what the ballot boxes will be like and all the processes.  This, you are guided by the Commission. As such, those that are offering voter education have to be guided by the Commission but when it pertains to civic education, I am sure you will agree, we are not worried about that.

I also would want to reject Hon. Gonese’s amendment of Section 40 (j) of the Act which limits the numbers of observers at polling stations and counting centres for the sake of administrative convenience...

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON:  Order.  Hon. Minister, are you not responding to your own amendment proposal that you have made.

 HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you very much.  What I am now doing is, because some of his amendments and my amendments are the same, it is confusing.  So I will do it this way.  Once I have finished, we can then go through my amendments if there are issues that he believes he wants to respond to, then he can do that because some of our amendments are similar.  It will be tedious and confusing.  It is already confusing because some of our amendments are similar and we have to go through the procedural steps to cater for that, so indulge me to do this.  

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON:  It is okay, you can continue.

HON. ZIYAMBI:  I thank you.  I was saying that I reject Hon. Gonese’s amendment of Section 40 (j) of the Act that limits the numbers of observers at polling stations and counting centres for the sake of administrative convenience.  I am sure you appreciate that you will be inviting pointless litigation when you make such vague and embarrassing amendments.  It becomes very difficult.  What does it mean to say that the polling station, polling and counting must be observed by as many independent organisations as possible, it is not possible?  Opinions on such matters Hon. Gonese, will vary I am sure you know, from lawyer to lawyer and from judge to judge. Therefore, there will be no end on litigation on this question.  So, I appeal to you that you accept that we remove it.

          The proposed new Section 40 (k), I accept Hon. Gonese’s new section, allowing the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to be an observer at elections, not monitors.  However, in order for the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to have automatic observers’ status, this privilege must be restricted to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and its employees and not extended to its agents.  If you are to allow this Hon. Gonese, it means that foreign observers instead of being accredited by the Observers Accreditation Committee, they will simply masquerade as agents of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission. 

          However, I reject the amendment proposed by Hon. Gonese to Section 51 of the Act, which adds no value to what is already there.  Also, it may sometimes happen that polling stations need to be established on the boundaries of wards to assist accessibility by voters to the polling station even though that station is not within the boundaries of the ward to which those voters belong.  In some remote locations, people naturally gravitate towards populated centres that may straddle district or ward boundaries, I am sure you appreciate that.

          Therefore, I reject Hon. Gonese’s proposed amendment also to Section 32 of the Act; I believe it does not add any value to what we already have.  In fact, it says the same thing in different words; we are just playing around with words Hon. Gonese.  It is already catered for.  I am also not in agreement and reject the replacement of Section 52a of the Act, which does not add any value to what is already there except for the provision which says that the Commission must ensure that the number of ballot papers printed for any election does not exceed more than 10% of the number of registered voters for that election.  I have adopted that amendment which you also alluded to.  I thank you very much for that; it is already in my notice of amendments.

          However, I reject your amendment of Section 55. As you may know, it is now common practice to have at least one police officer within the polling station, who is rotated with other police officers outside without the need for calling police officers outside to come in.  One hopes of course that police officers will never be needed to deal with trouble inside the polling station but in the real world Hon. Gonese, anything can happen any time and it might be too late if one has to run outside the polling station to look for a police officer.  It will not kill us to have one police officer in the polling station, rather than if something happens you now need to dash outside the polling station to look for a police officer.  Let us maintain what it is and have a police officer in there and if he is tired, we rotate and we have someone in there.  I so submit Hon. Chair, may be unless if you allow me to go through my own amendments.

          THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Not yet, let me put what Hon. Gonese has made.

          The Chairperson having ruled in favour of the noes – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary and Hon. Gonese approached the Chair.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you very much, I forgot to deal with one of his amendments where he wanted the tendering of the ballot box to be done in a different manner to what is covered by the Procurement Act, I reject that.  It is already covered, we have provisions on how procurement has to be done and I think we are sticking with the procedures of procurement.  We have a law that covers that and we are not going to deviate from what is obtaining.  I thank you.

          HON. GONESE: Thank you Hon. Chair.  Mr. Chairman, in moving for the amendment or for the inclusion of that provision, I was very clear as to what we want to avoid.  Already in the public domain there is a problem in the sense that we understand that ZEC has already secretly selected a company to print ballot papers and we are saying we have already had problems with this aspect.  I believe that the best cure for that problem is to ensure that when it comes to the Electoral Act, we are specific because as of now ZEC has not gone to tender.  They have circumvented the process; they have already selected an organisation to print and this proposal will then deal with that problem. 

For the benefit of all Hon. Members, I will read it - “the Commission shall call for a competitive tender to print ballot papers and all related electoral material, including the procurement of the indelible ink and the supply of ballot boxes”  To be on the safe side, we have just included all relevant materials.  The reason for this is to avoid suspicions; is to ensure that going forward we do not get bogged down by all the allegations that we had in the past.  In the 2013 elections, everyone knows that when the election petition was filed, access was not granted to the electoral material.

As a result, there still remains a lot of suspicions as to the ballot paper that we had because allegations have been that excess have been mutative and moving to where they have not been cast. We want to alleviate all those fears by ensuring that all the parties are involved and this is where it takes me to the second part of that amendment that for the above purposes, we must have agreement between the parties regarding the adjudication of the tender so that we all know that it has been done in a fair and transparent process. That is all we are suggesting so that in future, we do not get bogged down with unnecessary disputes.

HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Hon. Chair. I maintain that we have a very good law to deal with procurement. Even if you want to do a single selection, there are guidelines on how to do that which is covered and you need the authority of the Procurement Authority. You seek leave for them if you are to do that and our laws are very clear on that. However, I just want to add that Hon. Gonese fears things that are not there. On the voting day, there is reconciliation of ballot papers and it does not matter where they are printed. Let us leave those that are tasked with procuring the printing of the ballot papers to do it.

On voting day, everyone will be there and you reconcile the ballot papers and after voting you also do the reconciliation. The process is transparent. We should not labour ourselves wanting to do functions that have been given another body and we say all the 200 parties should be party to a process to select. I think we will be deviating from the norm. So, I totally reject that and say that nobody will be prejudiced. There are provisions that govern all this and allow us to proceed and have a transparent election where everyone will be satisfied that they have been beaten. I thank you.

HON. D. SIBANDA: Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. I want to add my voice. I want to remind the Speaker that there are many players in the game, which means that they should come to a consensus even including the printing of the ballot papers and agreeing on the paper which has to be used. They have to include every political party and the parties who are playing in that game should be involved in the printing of the ballot papers and agreeing in the papers which should be used. Thank you very much.

HON. CHASI: Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. I want to add my voice in support of what the Minister has said. We need to be cautious with a view to ensuring that ZEC continues to be an independent body in accordance with what is in the Constitution. If all the 120 parties get involved in this process...

Noise having been coming from the back

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order at the back. I thought this was a very important debate going on now.

HON. CHASI: Mr. Speaker, if the 120 parties were to be involved in this process, we might as well dissolve ZEC and forget about it doing the mandate that it is constitutionally given. I think the Minister’s proposal is reasonable and needs support. I thank you.

HON. CROSS: Mr. Chairman, I think we just have to remind the Minister that the outcome of this election, if it is not accepted by the participants and by the international community will condemn the next Government of this country to the wilderness. We have to have an outcome from this election which is accepted by everybody and recognised by the international community. The outcome of this election is critical to us as a nation, whether the Minister wants to acknowledge it or not. This is a major issue at this point in time in this country and people do not trust the Commission to do the right thing.

Under the new Procurement Act, the responsibility of procurement is ceded to the Commission supervised by the Procurement Board. I do not think that is an adequate provision in these particular circumstances. I believe that the Minister must seriously reconsider his position. Already we have suspicion, and I think it is substantive, that the tender has been awarded to a company associated with ZANU PF. We cannot allow that. There has to be transparency in this process. Surely, this is the very minimum that we require at this particular point in time. I really appeal to my colleagues on the other side of the table to reconsider their position on this. Do not put the outcome of this election in jeopardy for the sake of a simple amendment like this. I thank you.

*HON. MATANGIRA: Thank you Mr. Chairman. Some of these amendments are a keen to when you go to marry a wife or pay the bride price. A lot of partners propose that they had done the child’s play - mahumbwe. At one time they were the father and the mother, but you were thinking that those that initially wanted them to be married to those women, to your wife when you marry them are still in love with them. That is not the truth. When we talk about the issue of all of us being able to go and observe the printing of the ballot papers, no, what has happened. Dindingwe rinongoda irokana richiri kukweva rimwe asi iro kana rokwevewawo, roti mavara angu ozarevhu. 

The only time when opposite factors will say it is right is when the opposition itself is doing it or if we are saying ZEC is empowered to do it, negative thinking because they are not in power. We crafted the Constitution together and we must accept that there was both good and evil – mukoko wenyuchi nenhunzi, Government of National Unity (GNU). Why is this Constitution now wrong? What are you afraid of, this is what has been happening from 2000 and the other years and why is it making a difference now? Thank you Mr. Chairman.

*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Mr. Chairman, I am going to make a few points. A lot of opposition parties go to America and Britain. As I speak, Hon. Chamisa is in Britain. There is no law when they befriend or make friends; there is no law that the ballot paper should be inspected by everyone. There is need for security of the ballot paper.

The security of the ballot paper is important.  An educated Honourable Member like Hon. Gonese, a lawyer by profession, would claim that after making a mark or an X it moves to a certain position.  Such an Hon. Member like Hon. Gonese becomes illiterate.  He becomes even worse than us the illiterate.  There cannot be any cheating of that sort.  How can they be cheating?  When one places an X on a ballot paper, it is there and it cannot move.

The Hon. Members on the left should behave like Parliamentarians.  You cannot go around and tell the voters that votes are being stolen or you are being cheated.  Even the whites, when they were in Parliament before the advent of independence who told Ian Smith that the ballot papers should be inspected by the entire country.  Other things are not practicable.

I am not insulting Hon. Cross.  Hon. Cross has been in Parliament before.  The point that I make is that it is not possible that every Tom, Dick and Harry can inspect the ballot paper.  That is not proper.  That is a security matter.  Let us leave it like that.  Since 1980 we have been doing that.  It should not start now because there is MDC-Tsvangirai and MDC-Khupe.  Well, I disagree with that.  I thank you.

HON. TOFFA:  Thank you Mr. Chair.  I would like to add my voice to the debate by saying there is a perception out there by the people of Zimbabwe.  When we are doing this, we are not doing it for us that are sitting in here.  We are doing it for the people of Zimbabwe.  Like the President says, the voice of the people is the voice of God.  Those are the people that we need to satisfy that the ballot paper is not magnet, that the ballot paper is an ordinary ballot paper that they can trust and put their cross on and that is all that we are asking.  Thank you.

*HON. MUZONDIWA:  The guilty are always afraid.  The issue in question is the issue of free and fair elections.  We want to come up with legislation where nothing will be questionable.  We want to satisfy everyone.

If in our considered view we believe that certain issues are bound to cause the credibility of the elections to be lost, we should point them out.  The issue at hand is that if the Government is truly saying that it wants to conduct free and fair elections, well, prove us wrong by accepting what we are saying.  We should all know who will be printing the ballot papers.  What are you hiding?  Why the secrecy?  If there is no sinister motive, everything should be transparent.  Why are you not accepting some of those issues that we say should be transparent?  We want to know where the ballot paper is going to be printed as Zimbabweans. 

There is a lot of fear which is inherent which is among the Zimbabweans that in the previous elections people of Zimbabwe were of the view that they were being cheated.  If you are not going to hide anything, prove us wrong by accepting our plea.  I thank you Mr. Chairman.

HON. MGUNI:  Thank you Mr. Chairman for giving us an opportunity to debate.  It is really true that people want to have transparent, free and credible elections, which is equivalent to having other security documents like passports where not everybody can go where we make them because of security reasons, but they agree to hold them and use them.  Every Zimbabwean relies and trusts that the Government has made a correct document that is accepted all over the world.

Now, the President allows that they have received 124 parties in Zimbabwe, which means all those people must be allowed to go to where the ballot papers are.  That is preaching security if we are to talk about security.  That is the system of security that cannot be allowed, Mr. Speaker, because we have to protect that ballot paper.  The ballot paper will be seen by everyone in a rightful place, where everyone is represented to count the numbers of votes which are used only in a ballot paper.  So, even the world will be there to witness it.  I thank you.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON:  Hon. Sibanda, please be to the point.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  Yes, I will try to be as much to the point as possible.  Hon. Speaker, we are in a very rare situation as a country. Very rare situation in the sense that currently, we do not have a President that came from the people – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  On a point of order, Mr. Speaker Sir.  I think the Hon. Member should confine himself to the business that we are here for.  If he has a problem with the President, he has processes that he can follow to challenge that.  For him to come and disturb the smooth flow of debate, it is regrettable.  I think he should withdraw that statement.

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Chair, allow me to get a great exception to the point of order by the Hon. Minister. I think the Hon. Minister should, just as it was not his business for him to – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – It is alright Hon. Speaker. It is okay but I just wanted to express my great exception to – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – okay.

We are currently a very unique country in that we are a country that is governed by a Government that was not elected into power by the people of Zimbabwe – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order, may we have order in this room please. Order please! Hon. Sibanda why is it that every time you stand up you cause a lot of noise in the House? Why do you not debate in earnest and then we proceed with the debate. Please avoid attacking other people.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: My intention was not to attack anyone. I just wanted to give a background to the debate that I want to give to – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Chair, the emphasis that I wanted to put is on the desire and desirability that we have very free, fair and credible elections in this country. I can never over-emphasise the importance of us having free, fair and credible elections in this country. The most important point that made me to stand is how my colleagues on the other side of the House seem to be defending the point that ballot papers should not be transparently produced – [HON. MEMBERS: Where are they transparently produced in the world?] –

When the current President took the Oath of Office, his inaugural speech was premised on the fact that we want to ensure that Zimbabwe has a free, fair and credible election. I am sure he mentioned that because he understands the importance of having that legitimacy. He understands that it is important that everyone world over, including this country sees him as a duly elected President of this country. Hon. Chair honestly speaking, we have had a lot of allegations and shenanigans surrounding issues of ballot papers in this country. Our elections have always been elections that have raised arguments and debates and have been questionable surrounding issues of the ballot papers.

Now, when we are talking about elections Hon. Speaker, this is not a one man game. It is not a one party game and therefore, there should not be a single party that should decide where ballot papers are printed to – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –– [HON. CHINOTIMBA: It is not a party or Government, it is ZEC.] – I will pardon Hon. Chinotimba because he does not understand what Government means.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Do not provoke other people.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Sorry Hon. Chair. I understand that certain members might not understand – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order, order please! Hon. Sibanda, desist from provoking other members. please stick to your debate, a clean debate.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Chair, I wish I could speak in Tonga then some people would understand me better. What are you hiding from the ballot papers that you do not want everyone to see – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Chair, I believe that if this country wants free and fair elections, then the issue of the ballot paper should be very central and it should be very central in such a manner that every reasonable player, I understand there are over 100 political parties in this country but each one of us knows the serious political players that are in this country. You can never in this country speak about an election where you sideline the MDC-T led by Hon. Nelson Chamisa. What I am trying to say is that these members can go wherever they want to go and hang but the truth of the matter is that there is no way a ZANU PF Government can go on and print a ballot paper on its own and introduce the ballot paper to the people without the acceptance and consensus that is obtained from serious political players like MDC-T led by Hon. Chamisa.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: You know ZEC is independent and does that. Where does the Government come in?

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Speaker, it is virtually in the public domain that Government and ZEC have agreed to have one company to print the ballot papers. That statement was issued by the ZEC Chairperson to say that Government has agreed to appoint one company to print ballot papers. We are saying it should not be the business of ZEC which is full of soldiers who are currently ruling this country to decide which company is going to print ballot papers.

We are saying as Zimbabweans - Hon. Chairperson, let us come together and agree on a fair game, and say if ZANU PF really believe that they have support in this country they should allow the printing of ballot papers to be done in a transparent manner unless if you are afraid that Ngwena will be defeated like what happened in Kwekwe. If you are not scared that this current President will be beaten like he was beaten in Kwekwe Central, then bring the printing of ballot papers on the table so that everyone can understand and appreciate who is printing the ballot papers on to the table so that everyone can understand and appreciate who is printing the ballot papers.

          *HON. CHINOTIMBA: Mr. Speaker, my point of order is that in all the political parties, there is no political party that has the right to do a ballot paper.  All political parties, ZANU PF included.  My point of order is that, you should not say that ZANU PF printed a ballot paper.  ZANU PF does not print a ballot paper but ZEC does that.  ZEC has no funding to pay the people who are printing the ballot paper, ZEC approaches Government to say we have identified this particular institution to print the ballot paper and that is when it is said that Government has agreed to pay.  A person should know where the funding that pays for the printing of the ballot papers comes from.  That is all.  Thank you.

          THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Sibanda, you have five minutes left.  Continue.

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Including his time for the point of order.  Hon. Speaker, I think the request that is coming from the Zimbabweans and international players is that, let us allow Zimbabweans to have a free choice of a Government and we can only do that if ZEC allows all the political players to come together and decide together as Zimbabweans to say, this is the company that we want to print the ballot papers.  Those ballot papers Hon. Chair, the printing must be observed by every interested party in this country without segregation.  It should not be the privilege of only a single party or certain individuals to observe where those ballot papers are being printed.

          So what we are demanding Hon. Chair, unless if you want to have primary elections.  If these are general elections, then I think that all the interested parties should be exposed to a scenario where they can observe who is printing the ballot paper and accompany that ballot paper to its final destination where the electorate is going to vote.  Unless we do that Hon. Speaker, then you can continue having your primary election.  You can continue having Rugeje doing the way that he has been doing his things, because what we want is not a Rugeje election but what we want is an election where all Zimbabweans will feel that it is free and fair.  Why do you want to hide the printing of the ballot paper?  What security issue is there in a ballot paper where I am also an interested party?  Why should ballot papers not be exposed to everybody else and why should you print them secretly?  Why should a company that is going to print ballot papers be chosen in secret by only one party that is also contesting – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Obviously ZANU PF.

          So Hon. Chair, what I am telling you here is the position that is coming from Binga and we can assure you Hon. Chair and your ZANU PF Ministers that unless you are going to ensure that the ballot papers are printed in a transparent manner, then we are not going to have elections in this country - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –  I can assure you that.  If you want to continue with your coup Government, …

          THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON:  Order please, your time is over.  Hon. Sibanda, your time is over please.

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  If you want to continue with your coup Government, then Hon. Speaker you can continue with your coup Government, a coup Government that has not been following the laws of this country, then Hon. Speaker, you can continue but what we want as Zimbabweans …

          THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Can you take your seat, your time is over?

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  I am not going to take my seat.

          THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON:  Hon. Sibanda, your time is out.

          HON. P.D. SIBANDA: Hon. Chair, what I am saying in conclusion – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON:  Hon. Sibanda, just resume your seat. 

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  I am concluding.  Hon. Chair in my conclusion – we want the ballot papers printed by a company that is agreed upon by all political players, including those that lost in primary elections in ZANU PF; they should be allowed to observe where the ballot papers are printed.  We are not going to allow the coup Government to continue doing the coup in this country – muchidzinga manurse in an unconstitutional manner.  We are not going to allow that.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMEANTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Chair.  Allow me to respond to some of the issues that have been raised.  Hon. Cross spoke about the need for a free, fair and credible election which is what we stand for – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  On a point of order.  This is a coup Government.  You came through a coup.

          THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON:  Order please.  Please take him out. 

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  This is a coup Government.  This Government came through a coup.  I am not going out.  You cannot chase me out.  You are a coup Government – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON:  Order, order.  Can you move out please?  Take him out. 

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: You are a coup Government.  This Government came in through a coup.  I am not going to listen to a coup Government.  You are not a Speaker ipapo.  Ipapo uri Chairman, Ndezvako izvo – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Take him out please? Sergeant-at-Arms, take him out.  Take him out please? – [HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  Handibude.] – Take him out – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Take him out please? - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – [HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Coup Government.] –

          THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Can he be escorted out of the Chamber.

          The Sergeant-at-Arms escorted Hon. P. D. Sibanda out of the Chamber.

          THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order please! Hon. Minister, please proceed – [HON. CHINOTIMBA: Inaudible interjections.] – Order Hon. Chinotimba, please it is over.

          HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Hon. Chair I was indicating that Hon. Cross was speaking about the need for free, fair and credible elections which is the reason why we are still seating and it is minutes to the hour of six o’clock. We suspended automatic adjournment time to deal with these issues.  It is unfortunate that among us sometimes we have empty vessels that forget – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order Hon. Members, the Minister has said empty vessels amongst us, he did not mention anybody. So, what is the problem? – [HON. MEMBERS: Are you an empty vessel?] –

          HON. GONESE: I believe that they can be innuendos and when we debate Mr. Chair, particularly from the Hon. Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs who is responsible for piloting this amendment Bill, I think it is inappropriate for a whole Minister to start talking of empty vessels.  I think you were at pains to try to guide us, advising us that let us not inflame; let us not use inflammatory language and I do not think you can get a better example of inflammatory language than what the Minister has just said. I think with due respect....

          THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Point taken, I will ask the Minister to withdraw.  Minister, kindly withdraw that.

          HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Hon. Chair.  Allow me to say that the Hon. Member is the Chief Whip and we had proceedings that were legal to impeach and deal with those issues.  When he was saying that I am a coup Government, he was very silent. When I allege that we have some empty vessels without mentioning a name, he says I should withdraw that; I am not withdrawing anything.

          THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order Hon. Members, we are not here to fight.  We are almost concluding our Bill.  Why should we spoil it at the last minute?  Why do we need to spoil this Bill at the last minute, we are almost concluding.  Let us cool our tempers.

          HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Hon. Chair, allow me to conclude..

          HON. D. SIBANDA: On a point of order Hon. Chair.

          THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: What is your point of order?

          HON. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Chair, we are all Hon. Members here, there is no empty vessel and there is no Member who can be described as an empty vessel.  Can the Hon. Minister, with all due respect withdraw? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

          THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order.

          HON. MATANGIRA: Mr. Chairman, in English they say what is good for the goose must be good for the gander.  Fairness is exactly what we need in this august House.  When someone from the opposite says coup Government of  which they are serving and we are serving, we remain silent.  When a man says empty vessels - we have been making the worst noise on this side and we are not perturbed. Let the Minister continue, there is no need to withdraw.

          THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order, Hon. Members. I am appealing to you.  We are almost through with this Bill; it has been a very good day today, why do you want to spoil it at the last minute.  Yes, somebody has said it is a coup Government and this is why I have asked that person to be ejected out.  He is out now; so Hon. Minister, you lose nothing by withdrawing that, accept and continue with your debate.

          HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you very much Hon. Chair. I withdraw that there are members who are empty vessels, suffice to say that nothing was said of substance in that regard.  I then proceed.

          THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.    

          HON. ZIYAMBI: The issue that we are discussing Hon. Chair, pertaining to the printing of ballot boxes, I have already indicated that we have a law that covers that.  I have indicated that what Hon. Cross is alluding to that we need free, fair and credible elections, that is what we all want.  In fact, if Hon. Members want to be very honest to themselves, the Bill that is before the House did not contain the amendments that we are discussing.  It is the willingness to have free and fair elections which led to the Government to say that – okay, let us include other issues in this Bill that were not covered.  This Bill was about biometric voter registration and it wanted to give effect to the Statutory Instrument that was promulgated when we were initiating the biometric voter registration. 

          When this new dispensation came in, we agreed that let us be all embracing and we will do things that will allow our elections to be free, fair and credible.  We said to ourselves we will not play to the gallery but we accept issues that will allow us to proceed and have a good election.  When we started, I have alluded to a lot of issues that Hon. Gonese brought forward and we said we will accept in the spirit of ensuring that we achieve what Hon. Cross is saying.  So, I believe that the spirit to have free, fair and credible elections is more with the Government than anyone else.  We have engaged everyone to say - bring forward whatever and we discussed in a manner that is not confrontational but that has to lead us to produce an electoral law that will allow us to move forward as a nation – [HON MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

          What I want to add is that if you go into our Constitution, Section 239 (g) of the Constitution, it says that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is responsible for the design, printing, distribution of ballot papers and approval of the form and procedure of the ballot box.  We are here to make laws for the good governance of the nation not for a particular situation or to address a particular perception but to ensure that we meet minimum international and best practice.  What is in our Constitution which was agreed to is according to international best practice.  We are saying we agree that when ballot papers are printed and distributed, everyone will be there to inspect them, to reconcile the ballot papers that have been delivered to a particular polling station.  All these procedures are there in the electoral law.  When voting has closed, you reconcile again and the results will be displayed.  The number of ballot papers that are unused will be taken back. 

          I agree with Hon. Gonese that we cannot go beyond a 10% margin when we are printing the ballot papers.  We are in agreement with that in the spirit of ensuring that we bring more transparency into it. But, we cannot bring in issues that do not allow us to be a country that is governed by the rule of law. We need to stick to the laws and in particular the constitutional provisions that we have. Therefore, I implore members from both sides to accept that this provision is very problematic to accept in our laws and we should disregard it. I further agree with Hon. Mguni that we cannot do that. I know my honourable said kuvhunduka chati kwatara hunge uine chiturikwa. Hapana chekuvhunduka nekuti zvinenge zviri pajekerere munhu wose achiona. Maballot paper onzi bvuu apo overengwa zvakanaka vobva vati tiine 2000 pano ndizvo here, mosayinirana transparently. But, we cannot then violate our procurement laws and say we need 200 parties to be there when the ballot papers are being chosen and printed against what the Constitution says. The Constitution says it has to be done that way and again I do not have a comment on what Hon. Sibanda was saying, suffice to say it was just political posturing without anything tangible that I got out of it. I thank you.

          HON. GONESE: I do appreciate that this issue or matters we are discussing can raise a lot of emotions, but at the end of the day as Zimbabweans, we want to come up with a law that we are all happy with and that is what we are endeavouring to do. In that regard Mr. Chairman, I want to reiterate that this is a very contentious issue but I think it is imperative for all of us to really introspect and say to ourselves - what do we lose because if we look at the amendment, it does not say that all the parties will be involved. We are talking about the process and I want to go back to the proposed amendment.

          We are saying that the commission is still responsible and I am not detracting or digressing from what is provided for in the Constitution. We are simply saying that the commission shall call for a competitive tender. It is still the commission which is going to be responsible. It is the one which will call for the competitive tender so that everyone is aware of what is taking place. What we are not comfortable with is the current scenario where things are done clandestinely and where people do not know and have no idea whatsoever how the company which is going to print the ballot papers has been selected. I do not want to repeat what has been said by others suffice to say Mr. Chairman, what is important is to deal with the perceptions.

          Sometimes perceptions may not be reality but other times they gain more credence than reality and that is what we want to put to rest so that at the end of the day, we come up with a scenario where everyone is satisfied. I do not see what you will lose by accepting this proposal Mr. Chairman and Hon. Minister, we are simply saying this tender must be done openly so that we know and then prospective companies can bid and show that they have got the necessary expertise. That is to ensure that whoever is selected is someone or an organisation which is deemed to be the best that can actually carry out the mandate without any suspicions whatsoever.

          On the second part Mr. Chairman, I am not saying all the 120 or 150 political parties must be there. I am simply proposing that there must be agreement between the parties and other stakeholders regarding the adjudication of the tender. Not that the parties themselves are going to adjudicate but simply that they are going to be involved and satisfied with the process.

          On this second aspect, I know that the Minister might not budge but I just wanted to impress upon him that what we are saying is different from what other people are suggesting here. We are not saying all the parties must be present when the ballot papers are being printed but they must have an input into the process of awarding the tender. That is the point.

          The second matter relates to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC). In his response, the Hon. Minister dealt with the aspect of monitoring but there is another aspect that I thought I should further highlight. In his response Mr. Chairman, the Hon. Minister suggested that it must be confined to the commission and its employees. However, I respectfully want to differ with him in this regard. I believe that when it comes to monitoring – he wants them to observe right! However, that is a different issue but even when we are dealing with observation, they may not have the manpower in terms of their commissioners who are only nine (9). If we look at the number of wards we have in this country, we have a total of 1 958 and our elections are going to be polling station based. In other words, in some wards we will actually have 3, 4 or 5 polling stations and in others even up to 6 polling stations. So if we have got that scenario, we cannot then say that the ZHRC can do an adequate job with only its commissioners and employees. I want to suggest that, let us allow them to appoint agents specifically for the election in the same way the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) does when it comes to conducting elections. It actually gets other people to perform duties of presiding officers who are not employees of ZEC yet are assigned to perform the particular duties.

          I want to say that in my wording, I talked of both the commission and its agents and in part of his response, the Minister alludes to the commission and its employees then in the next breath he talks about agents. I believe that it makes perfect sense to say the ZHRC is going to observe elections but this is a different story and I still maintain that they should actually monitor the elections although I shall put that aside. However, even when it comes to observation, they should at least have agents that they then assign and I do not think there is any possibility of these being foreigners. When it comes to the observations if that is what the Minister wants, the ZHRC should be confined to their employees. How many employees do they have? Are they going to be able to cover the thousands of polling stations that we have? That is why I implore the Minister that if he does not accept my proposal to have them monitor the elections, at least even if they have to fully observe, they must be able to assign agents. That is my submission Mr. Chairman.

          HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you very much and to just try also and persuade the Minister on the issue around the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) as to whether it should have a monitoring role or an observation role. As part of our Portfolio Committee business, the Portfolio Committee on Justice actually invited the ZHRC to a hearing. Minister, just to say to you they were emphatic that what they saw as a better role was the role of a monitor. They said the observation role limits them from making sure that they can facilitate the changes that are there. Therefore, I think in the spirit of what we have been discussing just before here around the independence and giving independence to the commissions, you remember that part of what you were using as your argument on the ZEC was, let us give them the right to do what they have been given per the Constitution. Therefore, I do not think it takes anything away from you Minister if you were to merely change the issue around observation to monitoring since that would make a huge difference regarding credibility of our elections. In the spirit of what you are talking about – free, fair and credible elections – in fact for some of us it is not the international community that we are interested in because we are the Zimbabweans who will learn to live with each other after everybody else will have flown-off and gone back to their countries. It is those who are here who we need to empower and ensure they do the work that they are supposed to do. If we can empower our commissions that we set-up ourselves to do the role that we have given them as per the constitution, it would make a huge difference. Like I have said, the commission came to the Committee and made a representation that they would want to monitor reiterating that the observation role kind of gives them a role to deal with the issues after the horse has bolted so to speak. So just to persuade you to move on around the issue of monitoring.  I thank you.

HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you very much. I appreciate Hon. Gonese’s contributions regarding the printing of the ballot papers and still submit that my position best satisfies the requirements of the law and I will stick to that.

However, I want to comment on the Zimbabwe Human Rights’ role as to whether they should monitor elections or be observers.  The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission wanted to be accredited by ZEC.  ZEC accredits observers not monitors.  The moment they subject themselves to accreditation, then they have to subject themselves to what ZEC requires when one has been accredited as an observer.  However, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission has a constitutional mandate, which does not require them to accredit. They can still continue to do their role of monitoring and promoting human rights without the need of being accredited as a monitor.  I believe that the choice is theirs; if they want to be accredited as observers, then they have to follow the rules and regulations of observation and if they want to continue with their mandate which they are doing even as we are sitting now, then they can continue doing it and nobody is going to stand in their way. 

However, what they cannot do is access certain areas which may not have anything to do with what they are doing, but if they want to continue they can continue to monitor human rights, that is their constitutional mandate.  They do not need to go to ZEC to say that we want to be accredited.  That is the position that we are taking.  As for his position that they should be allowed to appoint agents and is comparing that to what ZEC does, ZEC’s position is also covered in our laws and the Constitution.  The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission does not have a provision to say that, should an election come and they want to be observers, then they are allowed to get agents to assist them.  It is not there.  However, in the constitution, it is provided that when ZEC is conducting an election, even other State agencies are enjoined to assist them to ensure that the election succeeds.  I believe that we can proceed and we look into my amendments. I so submit Hon. Chair.

HON. GONESE: Thank you Mr. Chairman.  I just want to correct a perception created by the Minister.  The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission do not want to be accredited as observers.  That is not correct.  They actually came before our Portfolio Committee.  The position is that, they have a constitutional right to monitor the observance of human rights and it is enshrined in Section 243 of the Constitution.  So, they do not need accreditation, that is what I am trying to correct.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission are not asking to be accredited and I think the Minister has got it right that the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission has got a constitutional mandate and in terms of that, they monitor the observance of human rights.  When it comes to elections, it is within their mandate to ensure that the observance of human rights is complied with in the conducting of all elections.  That is the reason why in my amendment, I am proposing that they should monitor and not observe.  That takes me to the second part where the Minister said that it is not covered by the Constitution, it does not have to be. 

Once the Human Rights Commission has the right to do something, it is up to them to see whether they have got adequate manpower or not.  This is the reason why I made reference to the number of wards we have and multiply that by the number of polling stations which are not finite, they can vary.  However, the essence of my submission is that, in his own amendment, the Hon. Minister, in one breath speaks of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission through any of its commissioners, that is the Minister’s amendment I am talking about.  The second part, he says, ‘in order to secure the accreditation of its agents,’ he is the one who is referring to agents, which is a recognition that in terms of executing their mandate, they can have agents.  So, the Minister has recognised that the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission can have agents.  Look at your own amendment Hon. Minister, you talk of agents, so I do not see any contradiction.

Amendments by Hon. Gonese put and negatived.

          HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA:  Thank you Chair.  On new clauses inserted after clause 4, the clause is basically not asking for anything more except to argue that as you may know, there is a list of office bearers that do sign to the nomination forms of candidates to just make sure that you have a way of creating checks and balances, particularly to try and protect your women candidates.  Hon. Chair, I must say even as you look at the numbers of the just finished primary elections, they look bad.  All we are trying to do is that those few that have been able to go through the nomination process are protected.  All we are asking is nothing more than to merely say on that list of those that are to sign the nomination forms for a candidate, the nomination form be counter signed by a nominee that is coming from the women’s wing.  We are not asking for anything more so within your provinces, you basically say those that sign for this person as a candidate, one of those should be coming from your women’s wing – [AN HON. MEMBER:  Zvagara zviriko.] – Can I finish off? 

Hon. Minister, you will remember that part of what we have been doing from the time we have been talking around gender mainstreaming is to say as we go through these electoral processes, let us ensure that we mainstream gender around it.  It does not take anything away from political parties.  You are merely including just one more person as a person who counter signs the nomination form of a candidate.  So, I do not think it is a complicated process.  I would really implore your new Minister to take that in.

The next one is following the initial amendments that I had requested Hon. Minister.  When you get to Amendment 6, it is speaking to the functions with respect to voter education.  The Electoral Act [Chapter 02:13], is amended in section 40B (“Functions of Commission with respect to voter education”) by the insertion of –

(a)             “gender sensitive,” in subsection (1) (a) after the word “accurate”, and

(b)            “complies with the code of conduct” in subsection (1) (b) after the word “persons.”

All it is asking is that after the word accurate, you include gender sensitive.  What we are basically asking is that the optics to the voter education should ensure that there is no gender bias around those voter education materials.  I think you did agree that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission will be responsible for making sure that they agreed to what kind of voter education material should be agreed to.  So, all we are asking you is you add on gender sensitive. 

The second one is that after the word persons, we then put in complies with the code of conduct which we are going to discuss and which we are hoping that will be an attachment to this particular section because all the other issues that we will speak to around that area on the functions of the Commission with respect to voter education, will also need to be considered around what voter education people are doing and whether they do not violate some of the issues that are raised in the code of conduct.

Amendment of Section 40G of Cap 02:13 is to do with the issues that are to do with observers.  The Electoral Act [Chapter 02:13], is amended in section 40G (“Functions of accredited observers”) by the insertion of after subsection (1) (d) (vi) of the following paragraph –

“(vii)    any other factor that have a bearing on gender equality and elections in the conduct of polling at the election.”

It is basically trying to say as you observe elections, one of the principles that we are supposed to look at is to look at any other factor that has a bearing on gender equality and elections in the conduct of polling at the election.  Again, it is to remind that among all the things that you are looking at around issues of observation, you are also considering issues of gender equality. 

On the issue around your observers accreditation committee, we are proposing that one person be nominated by the Minister responsible for Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development, so on your accreditation committee we are asking that you also include one who is coming from the Ministry.  This is because you do have a number that are coming from other Ministries.  What we are asking is that one be nominated from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Gender.

On amendment of Section 45, we are asking that there be an insertion after “person with disability” of “and of the two, one must be female and the other male.” I think the idea is to make sure that there is an inclusiveness in some of these structures that we are talking about and of the two, because it is indicating that there will be two of the people with disability.  All we are requesting is that one must be female and another must be male so that we have a gender balance around that particular area. 

          The other one is to try and protect issues around the appeal against nomination on a party list, that it should only be valid to the extent that their appellant alleges that the nominated candidate is unqualified for nomination.  Perhaps let me just explain before I go into details; what we are finding with issues of part lists is that some people are just disqualified without anybody indicating what their disqualification should be or is based on when the party has a party list.  So, we are asking that we have that issue included.

          We have 11, which I know that the Minister and me have been talking about back and forth, I am still going to put it there in the hope that I can persuade him and that he has changed his mind in the last two hours.  That is to say we invalidate any party list that comes through, that does not have 50% of each gender.  So for example, if you have 210 of your parliamentary candidates and out of those 50% are not women, that that particular nomination is invalidated.  I know that we have had a back and forth, for us it is a push around the 50/50 and I must say this Hon. Minister, I am more persuaded to push for this legal thing, because of what has just happened with your primary election, 10% of your 210 are women and that is bad news. 

We have not even gone , so you have 21 out of 210, we have not even gone to a proper election, you cannot assume that all the 21 will win, so we already have a serious disparity.  So, if you do the same and the other political parties do the same, we are actually are regressing from where we have come from, and yet we had done so well but with this process and with the primary elections and the candidatures that we are seeing even with your opposition political parties that are sitting here, we sense a huge problem.

          So, this is to kind of try and force you and political parties to do something seriously about this.  This is a conversation that we have had back and forth and I hope if you are not taking this in the alternate -perhaps do make a commitment that we are having an extension of the quarter system from 2018 and that you will come back and we will have a conversation.  So, I am hoping some miracle happened and you want to buy this but if the miracle has not happened, I am hoping that you can formally make that commitment so that we can step on your commitment in terms of beginning to see that we have an exchange around that particular area.  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I would like to thank Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga for her amendments and her commitment to gender equality which I applaud. However, I have certain reservations and I will reject the first amendment to the effect that we amend Section 38 and ensure that those that sign the forms, at least one representative should be a woman. I appreciate the need to include women in this but surely this is a party issue to say which official is designated to sign the nomination forms on behalf of the party and I think it is best addressed by the parties.  However, I am mindful of the fact that as a country, even in our Constitution we have said we need to ensure that we take seriously issues of women empowerment, but I am not persuaded to include in the Electoral Act.

          However, I will agree with her amendment of Section 40B.   I do not think it is a good amendment of 40 G, 40 H, I will agree to amendment of Section 45. In the same vein, I think Section 45 G is tied to the first one, and I am rejecting that.  I am also going to reject the amendment of Section 46. The first reason why I will reject it is that Hon. Misiharabwi is saying that any political party that intends to field a candidate for the National Assembly must furnish the Commission with a party manifesto and a list of candidates within a period of three months of the proclamation of election dates.  This is contrary to the Electoral Act. When the elections have been proclaimed, there is a prescribed time frame which is not less than 14 days or not more than 30 days when nomination has to proceed.  So, this is not possible for us to do that. So in that regard, in its format, it is not acceptable.  Secondly, it is not the duty of the Electoral Commission to know your political manifesto, their duty is to ensure that an election is done and party A or B has won and it is going to form a Government.  They are not worried about your messages.  While I appreciate the spirit with which you are bringing the amendments, I think we can address them in another format.  I am in agreement that we have not achieved much in terms of women empowerment. Perhaps the next Parliament should seriously consider extending the women’s quarter so that we empower our women to a level where we can remove it.  So, in that regard, I believe that the amendments that I have indicated except amendment of Section 38A, 45G and 46, those I am rejecting.  I thank you.

          HON. MISIHARABWI-MUSHONGA: No, I think it is important that I do a comeback.  Minister, I do appreciate your accepting some of the amendments that we have brought in and I do appreciate the challenges that exist with the amendment around 50/50, but also to show the appreciation for the commitment around the extension of the quarter beyond 2018.  I just thought it was important to acknowledge that. I thank you.

Clause 6, put and agreed to.

On Clause 7:

          HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA:  I move the amendment standing in my name that the Electoral Act [Chapter 02:13], is amended in section 40G (“Functions of accredited observers”) by the insertion of after subsection (1) (d) (vi) of the following paragraph―

             “(vii) any other factor that have a bearing on gender equality and elections in the conduct of polling at the election.”.

Amendment to Clause 7 put and agreed to.

Clause 7, as amended, put and agreed to. 

On Clause 8:

          HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA:  I move the amendment standing in my name that   the Electoral Act [Chapter 02:13], is amended in section 40H (“Observers Accreditation Committee”) by the insertion of after subsection (1) (g) of the following paragraph―

             “(h) one person nominated by the Minister responsible for women affairs, gender and community development”.

Amendment to Clause 8 put and agreed to.

Clause 8, as amended, put and agreed to.

On Clause 9:

          HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA:  I move the amendment standing in my name that the Electoral Act [Chapter 02:13], is amended in section 45 (“Interpretation in part XI”) by the insertion after “person with disability” of “and of the two, one must be female and the other male”.

Amendment to Clause 9 put and negatived.

Clause 9 put and negatived.

On Clause 10:

          HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA:  I move the motion the Electoral Act [Chapter 02:13], is amended in section 45G (“Appeal against nomination of party-list candidate”) by the insertion after subsection (3) of the following—

    “(4) An appeal against nomination of a party list candidate shall be valid to the extent that the appellant alleges that the nominated candidate is unqualified for nomination in terms of the requirements of the Act; or that the nominated candidate is unsuitable, clearly stating the grounds for such unsuitability.”.

Amendment to Clause 10 put and negatived.

Clause 10 put and negatived.

On Clause 11:

          HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA:  I move the amendment standing in my name the Electoral Act [Chapter 02:13], is amended in section 46 (“Nomination of candidates”)

(a) by the insertion of a new subsection (1a), before subsection (1) as follows—

            “(1) Any political party that intends to field a candidate for the National Assembly must furnish the Commission with a party manifesto and a list of candidates within a period of three months of the proclamation of election dates:

          Provided that the Commission shall reject any manifesto that does not address gender equality and a party list that does not show at least half of the candidates being women.”.

(b)                  by the insertion of the following proviso to subsection (5)—

                         “Provided that the nomination officer shall refuse to accept any candidature from any person whose name is not drawn from a party list.

Amendment to Clause 11 put and negatived.

Clause 11 put and negatived.

On (12) New Clause inserted after Clause 4 (Now Clause 13):

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Mr. Chairman, move the amendment standing in my name that after Clause 3 (renumbered as Clause 13) on page 2 of the Bill, insert the following clauses, the subsequent clauses being renumbered accordingly.  Mr. Chairman, I think some of the issues we deliberated on, but I will go clause by clause.  The first issue in agreement with Hon. Gonese,

          14     Repeal of section 40F of Cap. 2:13

Section 40F (“Foreign contributions or donations for the purpose of voter education”) of the principal Act is repealed. That we will repeal. 

          15     New section substituted for section 26A of Cap. 2:13

     Part IXB of the principal Act is amended by the insertion after section 40J of the following section—

“40K    Observing of elections by Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission

(1)  The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, through any of its commissioners or employees accredited under this section, may observe any election and electoral process in order to ensure respect for the human rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.

(2)  In order to secure the accreditation of its agents for the purpose of subsection (1), the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission shall notify the Commission, in writing, of—

    (a) the names and identification particulars of its commissioners or employees whom it wishes to be accredited as observers;  and

    (b)  the election or electoral process which it wishes to observe;

and the Commission shall without delay provide those persons with an accreditation certificate certifying that they are accredited by the Commission as observers of the election or electoral process concerned.

(3)  For the avoidance of doubt, it is declared that commissioners or employees of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission accredited in terms of this section shall be entitled to do all things that persons accredited as observers in terms of this Part may do in terms of this Act.

(4)  Before issuing any report on an election or electoral process it has observed in terms of this section, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission shall provide the Commission with a draft of the report and shall pay due regard to any comments the Commission may make on the draft.”.  I think we have adequately debated on that. 

          16     Amendment of section 52A of Cap. 2:13

Section 52A (“Publication of details re ballot papers”) of the principal Act is amended¾

    (a)  by the deletion of the title thereto and the substitution of “Number of ballot papers and publication of details regarding them”;

    (b)  by the insertion of the following subsection, the existing section becoming subsection (2)¾

 “(1)  The Commission shall ensure that the number of ballot papers printed for any election does not exceed by more than ten per centum the number of registered voters eligible to vote in the election.”. 

          I think we are in agreeable with Hon. Gonese.  We have dealt with this, we have debated it.  I so submit on that Mr. Chairman.  I thank you.

Amendment to (12) New Clause inserted after Clause 4 (Now Clause 13), put and agreed to.

(12) New Clause inserted after Clause 4 (Now Clause 13), put and agreed to.

On Clause 5:

HON. GONESE:  Thank you very much Mr. Chairman.  On Clause 5, I have a proposal to delete the clause and instead replace it with several clauses.  However, Mr. Chairman, I am not going to go over all of them.  I think the Minister has had time to look at them.  What I am going to do Mr. Chairman is that those clauses that relate to purely procedural issues, I will await the response of the Minister, I am sure that he has gone through my proposals and I will hear what he has to say.   However, there are some that I want to highlight, in particular Mr. Chairman, there is a new section I am proposing to be substituted for Section 61 of the Act, and I think that one is also procedural and again the facts speak for themselves and the Minister will res ipsa louitas and I am sure he has had sight of those.  I will await his response but in respect of a new section to be substituted for Sections 72 and 73 of the Act, I will dwell on those to some length because I think they are very critical.

          The first one Hon. Minister, relates to persons who may vote by post.  At the present moment, it is very restricted and I believe that the definition of essential services must be expanded so that we include those who work  in hospitals or any medical services; those who work in any transport service or any service relating to the generation, supply or distribution of electricity; any service relating to the supply or distribution of water or any sewerage or sanitary service and any service relating to the production, supply, delivery or distribution of food, fuel or coal or any fire brigade and any communication.  The reason why I am saying so Mr. Chairman, is that a lot of people who work under these sectors have been disenfranchised and have not been able to cast their vote and as the proposal stands, it only says people who may vote by post.  So, it does not mean that all of them have got to be provided with a postal vote but at least they should be allowed to apply for one. 

          So, that is my proposal Hon. Minister, we are talking of people who are within Zimbabwe but whose nature of work will take them away from their registered polling stations and if such persons are aware that they may be away from their places of residence where they are already registered, they should be given some latitude to apply for that postal vote.  The second subsection will then provide for what will then happen.  I would really implore the Minister – I know that the issue of the Diaspora is still pending; an application has been made to the Constitutional Court and we still await the ruling but here we are talking about people who are within Zimbabwe who would be unable to be at the polling stations where they are registered and we are saying that they should at least be given some opportunity to have that vote.

          The other following clauses deal with procedure and I will not dwell on them.  Similarly, new sections proposed to substitute Sections 109 and 110 are also dealing with a lot of procedural matters; I will not go over all of them.  However, I want to draw the Minister’s attention to the proposal on Number 48, which is proposing a new section to be substituted for Section 157 and I believe that this one is very important because we are trying to give more powers to the Electoral Court to ensure that candidates behave because what it entails Hon. Minister, is that the Electoral Court will have power to disqualify persons who are responsible for electoral malpractices.  It will cover a person who would have been a candidate in an election or an election agent of that candidate or an office bearer or member of a political party who is contesting an election. 

          I believe that if any of those persons are convicted of an offence which will constitute an electoral malpractice, then the Commission itself or the office of the Prosecutor General or any person who is acting in the public interest can apply to the Electoral Court for a disqualification order.  I believe that this will ensure that people do not persist in electoral malpractices to ensure that we have got elections which are squeaky clean.  If people know that there is a sword hanging over them they will be encouraged to have a better behaviour.  Again, the issue of the Electoral Court, there are some procedural matters which are covered under the proposed Part 12, the Minister can look at them and respond accordingly.  I will not go over them in detail.

          However, as to who may file an election petition, I want to draw the Minister’s attention again to the fact that my proposal is to broaden the number of people who can approach the Electoral Court by ensuring that it is not only the candidate who would have participated in an election but also their political party if they feel aggrieved; if they feel that certain things were not done in accordance with the laws, the political party concerned should have the right to approach the court.  I have also put a provision that in the event that the Electoral Commission itself feels that something has gone amiss they can also have that right but they cannot declare because the election would have been held but they can then approach the Electoral Court to have that election set aside. 

The other provisions which I have incorporated Mr. Chairman, are simply to simplify matters; to have election petitions treated just like any other application.  I think Hon. Minister, you are aware that in 2013 most of the petitions which went before the courts were dismissed on technicalities and I believe that the election petitions should just be treated in much the same way as ordinary court applications are treated.  That is what I am proposing so that we do not have election petitions which are determined, not on the merits but on issues of a technical nature. 

          I think that by and large, apart from the matters of a procedural nature, I would implore the Minister to take on board the amendments to the substantive clauses which I am proposing because I think they are going to improve the quality of the elections that we conduct.  I thank you Mr. Chairman.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Chair.  I would like to thank Hon. Gonese for his submission and I think he has put in a lot of effort to bringing these amendments but allow me Hon. Chair, some of the issues that he raised are also in my notice of amendments.  So, you will forgive me if I conflate the two and proceed and thereafter we can then debate and proceed to my own amendments.

          Let me start by saying that I partly reject Hon. Gonese’s substitution of Clause 5 of the Bill, which amends Section 56 of the Act.  The substitution of subsection 1,  does not add any value to the existing provision.  What it does is to complicate issues by requiring the addition of an extra subsection 1(b).  However, I accept your insertion of subsection 1 (a), I think it is in order.  This provision makes it clear that voting is polling station based, which we agree with.  I also accept your insertion of subsection 3 (a), which gives a right to a voter not to accept a ballot paper for any one election where two or more elections are being held at the same time in accordance with our harmonised system of voting. That is acceptable. I reject your submission where you referred to the roll having to be marked to show illiterate or disabled voters. I think we have already dealt with it. It is there in this section and so, we may not labour about it. I think we are now in agreement.

          Your submission on the request of Section 61 of the Act regarding issues to do with postal ballots which are dealt with under Part 15 of the Act, I submit that these should remain there for ease of reference. His submissions with regards to Section 64, 65, 67(a) and 70 on the procedure of counting, these I reject. I believe these amendments do not add any value to what is already there. I think we would introduce needless instability and confusion. The Constitution says we should have a process that is very simple and straight forward. We do not want to introduce issues that will result in some form of confusion or instability.

          Hon. Members have complained that the electoral law has been amended many times which makes it confusing to read it. We do not want to add a lot of confusion on that. I implore Hon. Members that, let us not needlessly add to the confusion. Let us just leave it. It will not change anything much. I will give an example on the proposed amendment to Section 67 (a). I believe it will invite vexatious requests for recounts. We will have so many requests for recounts if we allow that amendment. Every candidate having sight of the requisite polling stations returns must have some estimate of the number of votes in contention. Failed candidates will not simply complain. He should be able to have some form of estimate so that we do not encumber ourselves with unnecessary recounts. 

          Again on the submission to replace Sections 72 and 73 of the Act, I reject this. The proposal indeed shows why it is necessary to severely restrict the application of the postal ballot. For instance, your definition of essential services is not very exhaustive and how can it be exhaustive Hon. Gonese, because everyone will say that his service is very essential which will make it so difficult to administer the postal ballot. Everyone would want to qualify to be included in the postal ballot. I think your definition is not very broad and I believe let us restrict it to what it is.

          You have to remember Hon. Members, that the issue of postal ballots is very sensitive and if we include all these with the sensitivities and the need to have free, fair and transparent elections, we will include issues that will result in outcries that the postal ballot was abused. I think as it is, it is fairly safe to leave it like that. I think it is also for the same reasons of clarity and stability of Statutory law that I will reject Hon. Gonese’s amendments of the law contained in Section 109 of the Act concerning the Presidential elections. These provisions are all compactly contained in Section 109 of the Act and let us not scatter them all over. Let us leave them there. We should also have mercy on those that are empowered to run the elections. We do not want them to scramble around to look for provisions that govern the conduct of the elections. We need that and it will make it very difficult when they are training those that are supposed to conduct the elections training programmes and the voter educators. So, I believe let us leave it as it is.

I propose the amendment of Section 126 of the Act. Presently, that provision says that the name of a candidate who has been withdrawn or died must be deleted or omitted from the ballot paper. This impractice has proved difficult if not impossible for the Commission to implement and I propose that we remove it from the Act.

          I reject submissions by Hon. Gonese to amend Section 133 (a), 133 (h) and 133 (j) of the Act in so far as these amendments involve the exclusion of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission from direct participation in the investigation of electoral abuses. These are dealt with in my notice of amendment Hon. Chair, in the Schedule to the Bill. Please, also note that the Commission cannot spare staff for the task of investigating politically motivated violence. This is the sole responsibility of the Special Police Liaison Officer appointed under the Act.

In the same vein, I also reject submissions proposed by Hon. Gonese for the inclusion of a new Section 154 (a). It is not simply realistic to prohibit political gatherings even 24 hours before the polling day. Who will complain about this and how will you prosecute it to say let us ban this? The law must be realistic and reasonable. We must maintain a harmony between fact and law in our legislation and not try to attempt to prohibit behaviour that is impossible. I think it is only fair. I think it is in order to leave it as it is.

Your proposal to repeal Section 155 and 156, I reject. These sections are very welcome guidance to our judicial authorities on when to void elections and let us leave it there. It allows our judiciary guidance in doing their work. In the absence of such guidance, you may have a situation where our judiciary is put in the place of the Commission and become the default Electoral Commission. Hon. Members may recall recent election in our continent where the judges avoided a Presidential election and subjected voters to extra costs, expense and danger of a new election which in the end was boycotted. Let us allow the judiciary the leeway and guidance that is provided for by Sections 155 and 156.

I also propose Hon. Chair to amend Section 160 (a) and 160 (j) of the Act. I propose to amend the provisions on multi-party liaison Committees and monitoring of the media during elections to allow the Commission after consultation with myself to activate those provisions before the election period so that the Multi-Party Liaison Committee can begin its work, and also to allow ZEC to start monitoring media coverage of the elections. Both provisions can come into effect six months before the last day of an election under the Constitution. I think this is a welcome provision which I am proposing to everyone.

However, I reject the submission that we replace Section 157 of the Act. It proves an unwelcome burden on the Electoral Court to disqualify from future elections candidates alleged to have committed electoral malpractices. The Electoral Court, Hon. Members, is not a criminal court. If you want to disqualify me or perhaps Hon. Gonese to withstand from future elections on the basis of mere allegations, it is better for that issue to be adjudicated by the criminal courts and not the Electoral Court. Let the convicting court make the decision on the basis of facts before it.

In the same vein, I reject submissions proposed by Hon. Gonese to Part 12 of the Act concerning the Electoral Court. I think for the sake of stability of the electoral law, let us not keep overturning established provisions especially where they concern the courts. However, I will accept a few amendments that you propose in that regard. I have mentioned some of them, namely ‘to make it clear that the Electoral Court is a division of the High Court, that is accepted and also to make it clear that the Electoral Court can take oral evidence on disputed points, that is also accepted and we thank you for that; to apply to the Electoral Court the rules of the High Court on security for courts and condonation of late filing, I am sure that is welcome, we accept that; to make it clear that an appeal on a decision by the Electoral Court must be determined within three months, that is also accepted. I also accept Hon. Gonese’s replacement of Section 190 of the Act with some changes so that the procedure for making complaints to ZEC is clearer and does not have to be prescribed, that is accepted.  However I reject submissions that we amend Section 192 which do not add anything of substance to what we already have.

I wish Hon. Members can remember that the Commission has a very broad power to make regulations and I want to quote some of the powers that they have been prescribed, ‘the Commission may, by regulation, prescribe all matters which by this Act are required or permitted to be prescribed or which in its opinion are necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to this Act.’  So the Commission has broad powers to do that and I implore Hon. Members not to accept this amendment and to accept my amendments that have taken into consideration a lot of his amendments.  I so submit.

HON. GONESE:  Thank you very much.  I just want to respond to a few issues raised by the Minister in his response.  Firstly, Mr. Chairman, I believe that when it comes to the application for postal votes, if you look at the current provision which the Hon. Minister says he is happy with, I am actually surprised because the current provision, Mr. Chairman, when it refers to persons who may vote by post, it only refers to those who are on duty in the service of the Government. 

I want to believe that while the Minister believes that my definition of essential service maybe broad, but I think that there is one category who have not been taken care of and in the past these people have been disenfranchised.  I am talking of those who have been assigned duties as presiding officers.  Sometimes the challenge is that they will not know in advance where they will be posted.  So, I think one proposal which I want to make is that they should be notified in advance and then those people, once they have been notified, they can then apply for the postal votes.  I believe it is not fair for someone who is recruited by the Commission because most of those are not full time employees of the Commission.  Some of them will be in the civil service.  We are looking at teachers and other members of the civil service.  They are then deployed especially now because in the past, it was a bit better where our elections were ward based.  At least they may be deployed to a polling station which may be in the same ward, but now if they are not in the same polling station where they are going to preside, automatically they lose their right to vote. 

So, my suggestion in the alternative to the Hon. Minister would be that perhaps instead of talking of all those essential services, let us perhaps confine ourselves to those who will be assigned election duties, which I believe does not necessarily mean the service of the Government because ZEC is an independent Commission, so, these people are not covered.  So, I would then suggest to the Minister that okay, let us compromise.  I know journalists have also complained because they have been assigned to cover elections in areas away from their wards where they were registered in the past.  When it relates now to polling stations, it becomes more problematic.

In the alternative, Mr. Chairman, let us have a mechanism to enable those people to vote because I know from experience a lot of persons who have been assigned election duties have been unable to vote.  So Hon. Minister, I think it is not fair for those people who will be on duty carrying out duties assigned to them by the Commission failing to cast their vote.  They should have a right to vote for a person of their choice.  So, I think we must come up with a solution which will enable them to really cast their vote.

Then the other aspect I want to respond to relates to the powers of the Electoral Court.  I do not know where the Minister was reading from or I think he did not read my proposals because he was talking of allegations.  The proposal is very clear.  We are talking of people who have been convicted and I want to draw the Minister’s attention to the specific provision because his response was going at tangent to what is in the suggested amendments. 

Electoral court may disqualify persons responsible for electoral malpractices and it is very clear, we are saying if a person who is either a candidate or an agent of a candidate or an office bearer of a political party is convicted by any court, we are not talking of allegations here.  We are talking of a person who has been convicted.  We want to deal with the culture of impunity.  People have been doing it and they have been repeating it knowing that no drastic consequences will befall them.  We want to ensure that if people are aware that if they do any of these things, if they engage in violence for example or any other malpractice, whether it is bribery, intimidation and so on, they know that the consequences are so drastic and again, the Electoral Court is now given sufficient power to decide which are the more grave offences.

The provision is discretionary.  It is saying that the Electoral Court may order, it does not say shall.  So in other words, if the Electoral Court is inclined to the view that the malpractice is not of such a grave nature, it may not bar the person from standing in elections, but if it considers that what the person has been convicted of is so serious that it warrants the removal of that person from the voter’s roll, so be it.  Similarly, if the Electoral Court is convinced that what the person has done warrants that person from being barred from standing for elections, so be it.  This will ensure the future good behaviour of persons who participate in the elections. 

It is confined to three categories – the candidate, his or her agent or office bearer of a political party and it is political parties which have been responsible for a lot of these malpractices.  I do not understand why the Minister is rejecting those amendments on the basis that he has given in his response where he is talking of allegations.  I am not talking of allegations.  We are talking of someone who has been convicted by a competent court of law.  So, I want us to reach a compromise and in any event, Hon. Minister, this power is discretionary.  The court will still be required to make a determination as to what penalty to impose and we leave it to the courts to decide.  Where there are more serious incidents, then we can have a person disenfranchised by being removed from the voters’ roll or standing as a candidate or to hold any public office. So, I really implore the Minister to seriously take into account these proposals because our elections have been marred by violence and various electoral malpractices and we want these practices to come to an end. It can only happen when we have got stiff penalties which people are aware they can visit in the event of their transgressing and the provisions.

HON. ZIYAMBI: I will deal with them not in the order that he presented them. I believe the electoral law covers the electoral officers adequately, those who will be conducting the elections in Section 72A. Those electoral officers can vote by postal vote and this is adequately covered and your fears that they may not vote which are well-founded, I think are covered. The only thing that happened when we did the amendment in 2012, some of the provisions on postal votes were suspended pending the coming in of the new voters’ roll but I think it is covered.

Also in terms of what you perceive, any job maybe essential depending on how you look at it but what the Constitution and the Electoral Act has done is that the day when we are voting, the President is obliged by law to declare it a public holiday. The Act in Section 92 also obligates all the employers to release their employees so that they can go and vote. This is also covered in the Act and all employers will be obligated. I think that is covered for presiding officers and everyone else, the law says the day can be declared a public holiday which I think it will.

On the courts, to say that if you have been convicted of a malpractice, Hon. Gonese indicates that the court will be given discretion; normally Hon. Gonese, courts do not like to exercise discretion if they can avoid it. It leads to perceptions of differential treatment. So, let us not legislate on discretion and that is the reason why I am very cautious to allow that amendment. After elections, you will be crying foul to say the courts have applied it selectively. So, let us leave it so that we will not have a scenario where the courts will be said to have applied selectively. If somebody has done something that is very grave and there are human rights violations, we have laws to deal with that and I am very cautious to legislate on perception to say the court can use its discretion. Let us avoid that. I so submit Hon. Chair and believe that we can proceed.

Amendment to Section 157, put and negatived

On new Clause substituted for Clause 5 now Clause 17;

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move the amendment in my name that between lines 39 and 41 on page 2 of the Bill, to delete the clause and to substitute the following clauses:

“31   Amendment of section 56 of Cap. 2:13

Section 56 (“Entitlement to vote, number of votes and identification of voters”) of the principal Act is amended—

(a)in subsection (1) (a) by the repeal of the proviso thereto;

(b)    by the insertion after subsection (1) of the following subsection

           “(1a) At a by-election, every voter registered on a polling station voters roll shall be entitled to vote at that polling station for one of the candidates —

(a)             who have been duly nominated for election as a constituency member in the constituency in which the polling station is situated; or

(b)            who have been duly nominated for election as councillor for the ward in which the polling station is situated;

as the case may be.”;

(c) in subsection (3) by the deletion of “shall hand the applicant a ballot paper” and the substitution of “, subject to subsection (3a), shall hand the applicant a ballot paper”;

    (d)  by the insertion after subsection (3) of the following subsection—

“(3a)  If polling in two or more elections is being conducted

simultaneously at the polling station and an applicant declines to accept a ballot paper for any one or more of those elections, the presiding officer shall not hand the applicant a ballot paper for that election and shall record, in such manner as may be prescribed or directed by the Commission, that the applicant did not receive the ballot paper.”.

          I think I have dealt with most of them when I was responding to Hon. Gonese and I want to thank him. Some of his submissions, we have accepted. Basically, amendment of Section 56 to deal with entitlement to vote, we have responded to that. We have dealt with them adequately.

          Amendment to new Clause 17 put and agreed to.

New Clause 17, as amended, put and agreed to.

On New Clause 18 inserted after Clause 5 now Clause 17;

HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I move the amendment standing in my name that after Clause 5 on page 2 of the Bill, insert the following clauses, the subsequent clauses being renumbered accordingly –

“6. Amendment of section 163 of Cap 02:03

The Electoral Act [Chapter 02:13], as amended in section 163 (“Assessors”) –

(a)             in subsection (1) by the insertion of after “two persons” of “at

least one of whom should be female”;

(b)            in subsection (2) by the insertion of after “ten persons” of “at

least half of whom should be female”.

          This is just to ensure that we have gender equality as we have agreed on earlier provisions.

          Then on the Fourth Schedule of the Electoral Act is amended by the insertion of the following paragraphs after paragraph 11 –

“12. Role of Women

          Every registered party and every candidate must –

(a)               respect the right of women to communicate freely within parties

and candidates;

(b)            Facilitate the full and equal participation of women in political  activities;

(c)                 Ensure the free access of women to all public political meetings, marches, demonstrations, rallies and other public political events;

(d)            Take all reasonable steps to ensure that women are free to engage in any political activities.

I speak from experience that we are having problems with that particular aspect where women are unable to speak freely within their own political parties to facilitate the full and equal participation of women in political activities; to ensure the free access of women to all public political meetings, marches, demonstrations, rallies and other public political events and to take all reasonable steps to ensure that women are free to engage in any political activities. What we are basically saying is that; include a paragraph that speaks to the role of women. 

          Then, there is the penalty of non-compliance and I know we have not dealt with this Hon. Minister, because it is to speak to the code of conduct and it is basically to try and see whether we can have a penalty of non-compliancy because when you look at the code of conduct, you do not get a sense that there are penalties around non-compliance.  So, that paragraph is to look at what will happen and we are basically saying that the Commission should be able to buy a candidate for a political party from contesting, if that candidate is guilty of breaching any provisions that are in the code of conduct.

          Then amendment 8 is to speak to the issue around the designation by the President of the Commissioners.  It is already agreed to and I know that it is almost being repetitive Hon. Minister, and I can see your attitude but all I am saying is that it is already there in the Constitution. All we are saying is to ‘re-repeat’, if there is that word to ensure that people do not miss it.  But, I know that we already have that provision in our Constitution.  The last sentence is really to say, if you are going to have a replacement of a Commissioner, then you replace it with the same sex that has been there.  Again, I know it is there but we are having an Act and there is no harm in repeating.  Dzokororo ine simba, that is what is always said.  So, with those amendments and with my thanks for appreciation to what the Minister has been able to agree to, I am sure that these ones are not such problematic amendments.  I thank you Chair.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Hon. Chair.  I would like to thank Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga.  She is very passionate to the extent that she will repeat the same point over and over again.  I fully understand and appreciate.  I do not have a problem in accepting amendment of Section 163 as you propose.  I do not have a problem in inserting on the code, for the Fourth Schedule, the role of women as you propose.  I do not think it will materially change anything.  But, I have a problem with penalty for non-compliance; that I am rejecting.  The Commission shall bar a candidate from a political party from contesting if they are in breach of any provision of that code, I am not accepting that.  Then, that one is not acceptable. 

Again, the amendment of the Sixth Schedule, like you rightly say, Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga, it is already covered and if you listened to what I said earlier on, let us not clatter and cause a lot of confusion – provisions that are already there and that are already being applied, let us leave it like that.  We know you are very passionate and we are already doing it. As you know, when the ZEC Chairperson resigned, we chose someone of the same gender and that is what the Constitution says.  We do not have discretion in that but it is what it is.  So, Hon. Chair, I put that we accept amendment to 163, amendment to the Fourth Schedule and in so far as we take the role of women but reject the penalty for non-compliance and reject amendment to the Sixth Schedule.  I so submit.

Amendment of Clause 6, as proposed by Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga put and agreed to.

Clause 6, as amended, put and agreed to.

Amendment of Clause 7, Fourth Schedule as proposed by Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga – Paragraph 12 - Role of women put and agreed to. 

Clause 7, Fourth Schedule, Paragraph 12 – Role of women, put and agreed to.

Amendment to Paragraph 13 – Penalty for non-compliance as proposed by Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga put and negatived.

          Amendment of the 6th Schedule, Chapter 213 as proposed by Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga put and nagatived

           (15) On new Clause inserted after Clause 5;

          HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I move that after Clause 5 on page 2 of the Bill, insert the following clauses, the subsequent clauses being renumbered accordingly-

          New Clauses inserted after Clause 5 put and agreed to.

          (14) On new Clause inserted after Clause 5 (now Clause 17).

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you very much Hon. Chair, I think most of the issues on this new clause have been discussed.  They are issues to do with voting by illiterate and physical handicapped. We included them to say that there should be a provision for them to vote and issues on withdrawal of candidates.  We have discussed about it.  However, allow me to say I am proposing a new section 133 (a) on the meaning of intimidation of the principal Act to be amended by inserting paragraph (d) which will read as follows; meaning of intimidation to mean persuading or attempting to persuade another person that he or she can or be able to discover for whom that other person cast his or her vote in an election.  I think that is critical.  We have issues to do with Section 160 (a) on the Constitution of the Multi-party Liaison Committees of the principal Act is amended by the deletion of “as soon as possible after the close of nominations in an election  the Commission shall appoint and the substitution of as soon possible after the close of nomination in an election (or, in the case of a national multiparty liaison committee, from such a date as the Commission may designate, after consultation with the Minister, by notice in the Gazette being any date on or after the beginning of the period of six months before the end of the five year term of Parliament as specified in section 143 of the Constitution),  the Commission shall appoint”. 

          In other words, we want to increase the period where the multiparty liaison committee can start to act and I think this is a welcome provision.  Again, we have amendment of section 160 (j) on the conduct of news media during election period of the principal Act which we are proposing to amend (a) in subsection (1) by the deletion of “during an election period” and the substitution of “subject to subsection (2) during an election period” (b) by the insertion of the following subsection, the existing section becoming subsection (1) “(2), The Commission may after consultation with the Minister, by notice in the Gazette activate the operation of subsection (1) and of any specified provision of this party before an election period so however that subsection 1 and the specified provisions take effect from any specified date or after the beginning of the period of 6 months before the end of the 5 year term of Parliament as specified in section 143 of the Constitution”.            Again, we are broadening the time when ZEC will be allowed to monitor the conduct of media during elections. 

We have amendment of section 161 of the Act on establishment and jurisdiction of the Electoral Court.  We want to amend the principal Act, by the deletion of “a court” and substitution of a “division of the High Court”.  I am sure Hon. Members, we have done this. 

Amendment of section 171, Provisions as to trial of election petition of the principal Act is (a) amended by the insertion after subsection (1) of the following subsection; “ (1a) If on the trial of an election petition a dispute of fact arises that cannot be resolved on the papers, the court shall attempt to resolve the dispute by the hearing of oral evidence without referring the matter for trial as an action, and for that purpose the court – (a) may permit the parties to call and examine witnesses, 1 (b) and may itself call and examine witnesses.  I am sure we have dealt with this when I referred to the need to deal with oral evidence. We dealt with this when we were discussing earlier on.  Let me see what we have not dealt with.  The time, within which petitions and appeals thereon are to be determined, we have dealt with this and said 3 months.  Complaints to the Commission, we have dealt with this.  I think this clause, I submit it Hon. Chair.  

          HON. D. SIBANDA: Thank you very much Mr. Chair.  Also, this is an advice to our Minister to stay on our media; we need freedom in the media fraternity.  We need the media to report issues as they are and we also need the media to cover if there are rallies during that time, to cover everybody on our television and radio.  We also need respect for our journalists.  He needs to take note of that. Thank you very much.

          HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you very much Hon. Sibanda.  That is the reason why we are extending to 6 months so that we give the electoral body the mandate to monitor outside.  The law as it, is the electoral body can only monitor after proclamation has occurred.  We are saying in consultation with the Minister, at least we are giving a leeway of 6 months and it will have some certainty. So the law is trying to address exactly what you are alluding to.  I thank you.

          Amendment to New Clause inserted after Clause 5, now Clause 17 put and agreed to.

          New Clause inserted after Clause 5 now clause 17, as amended, put and agreed to.

          HON. GONESE: Mr. Chairman just for the record, that proposed amendment has already been dealt with because I anticipated it. Mainly because it had been inserted at the end of the amendments but logically it was a proposal to amend Section 52. It was inserting a proposed Section 52 (b), so we dealt with it when we dealt with Section 52 (a), so it accordingly falls away.

          HON. ZIYAMBI: Withdraw it.

          HON. GONESE: I do not have to withdraw it because it has already been dealt with and it falls away.

HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you very much Hon. Chair. What we are left with are minor amendments to comply with the Constitution and as you see on the Schedule we are just deleting where we have any reference to a constituency registrar. We are deleting that and we no longer have that. Wherever it occurs we delete it, so we see that the provisions were listed there and where we are deleting, we are referring to the voter registration officer or constituency registrar or registrar general of voters because we have changed. The commission is now doing all that and we are deleting in consultation with the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission …

Amendments to Chapter 2:13 put and agreed to.

Amendment to Schedule as proposed by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, put and agreed to.

HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Hon. Chair. Hon. Members I am sure you received the new Schedule that substituted the Fourth Schedule and I am proposing that we adopt the Electoral Code of Conduct for political parties, candidates and other stakeholders as submitted by me.

HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: On page 5 under paragraph 11 (1), the second paragraph talks in agreement with the Electoral Commission (ZEC) and political parties represented in Parliament to the effect that the Multi-liaison Committee will be set-up for the entire electoral process. I am thinking that, why can we not delete “…in agreement with the Electoral Commission and political parties represented in Parliament…” so that you can force the other political parties…

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order, order Hon. Member could you appraise the Chairperson.

HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Chair I am proposing that you want to bind everybody else who is in the electoral process because if you merely refer to political parties in the House, it is almost as if the Code will bind those that are in the House. I am just saying there is no point in having that sentence. The point is that the Multi-party Liaison Committee will be set-up for the entire electoral process. That is all that we are trying to achieve and I am proposing that you just do the deletion of that sentence “…in agreement with the Electoral Commission and the political parties represented in Parliament…” and start with “…the Multi-party Liaison Committees will be set-up for the entire electoral period …” I think I will stop there because you are complaining.

HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you very much Hon. Chair. While I may feel persuaded to agree with her, the problem is we are proposing to extend this Multi-party Liaison Committee to about 6 months before the expiration of its term. Therefore there is nothing to gauge the political parties that with the mushrooming of political parties, it is difficult to gauge which ones are serious and we may end up clogging that committee with people who are not serious. The only people that we can deal with are those represented in the August House. It is very difficult to then say anyone who is not there should be included. It becomes very problematic and I so submit.

          Amendments to New schedule substituted for Fourth Schedule to Chapter 24:20, put and agreed to.

          New Schedule substituted for fourth Schedule to Chapter 24 to 20 as amended put and agreed to.

          Section 6, Minor Amendments to Electoral Act, Chapter 213, No. 25 of 2004 put and agreed to.

          House resumed.

          Bill reported with amendments.

          Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you very much Madam Speaker.  I want to thank the Hon. Members for the hard work that you put in today, it was not easy, and we had to do it.  I sincerely thank Hon. Gonese and the team – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Hon. Members, I think it is a great day for our democracy today, we should be proud of ourselves.  The Chairperson of Committees did a splendid job today and I think it is a day that we all must cherish for what we have achieved for our country.  I thank you.

          On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI), the House adjourned at Ten Minutes to Eight o’clock p.m.

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National Assembly Hansard NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 08 MAY 2018 VOL 44 no 55