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Network Supports Proposed Zimbabwe Electoral Reforms

  • Jonga Kandemiiri
  • Ntungamili Nkomo

Unity government sources told Studio 7 the proposals are in an electoral law amendment bill being drafted by the Attorney General’s Office which will soon be tabled in parliament.

Parties in the inclusive government want police to cast ballots two days before other citizens.

But Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri is said to be resisting the reforms, demanding instead that law enforcement agents be allowed inside polling booths.

Postal voting by police has been criticized by observers who say members of the force were compelled to cast ballots for Zanu PF under the watchful eye of supervisors.

The Zimbabwe Independent newspaper said Chihuri has protested the proposed changes in writing to the Home Affairs ministry, demanding police be allowed to vote 30 days before election day.

Zimbabwe Election Support Network chairman Tinoziva Bere told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that the amendments were appropriate because they will restore transparency in police voting.

Bulawayo-based political analyst Mandlenkosi Gatsheni said the police commissioner’s objections should not be heeded.

The Select Parliamentary Committee on revision of the constitution has ordered that any opening prayers at public outreach meetings should be delivered by outreach team members rather than by volunteers.

The committee was responding to complaints that some who volunteered prayers used the platform to launch vicious attacks on opposing parties and to argue positions.

Select Committee Co-Chairman Douglas Mwonzora told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the aim is to ensure that no one is threatened or intimidated under the guise of the opening prayers.

Elsewhere, outreach members in Mashonaland West of the Movement for Democratic Change who boycotted the program Sunday in protest of violence against their party members Saturday in Chegutu have resumed their duties.

Parties to the dispute will hold talks on Wednesday.