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Parliament Passes Zimbabwe Constitution Bill

Parliament of Zimbabwe
Parliament Wednesday passed the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Number 20 Bill paving way for President Robert Mugabe to sign the draft constitution into law.
The Bill passed after the House of Assembly approved three amendments made by the Senate on Tuesday.

Speaker of parliament, Lovemore Moyo, announced that no lawmaker had opposed the passage of the Bill and all the 148 present voted in its favour.

The Bill will now be sent to President Mugabe, who is expected to sign it into law as early as Friday, clearing the path for general elections which he insists should be held by June 29 when parliament’s five-year term draws to an end.

Meanwhile, Mbizo lawmaker Settlement Chikwinya of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai moved a motion today calling on the government to start the mobile voter registration process afresh saying the current one is chaotic.

Mr. Chikwinya said there can be no credible election in the country in the absence of proper voter registration.

Chikwinya said the Registrar General’s Office has deployed inadequate staff and put up few centres around the country resulting in many people being turned away.

He said areas considered to be Zanu PF strongholds had more registration centres than those dominated by his MDC party.

Chikwinya blamed Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede for the problems affecting the current exercise, adding he must be replaced with a professional and non-partisan person.

He said the voter registration exercise must be re-done after an extensive publicity, adding the government must also provide adequate resources for the exercise.

Masvingo central lawmaker Jeffreyson Chitando condemned what he said was a chaotic voter registration exercise.

He said President Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the registrar general must be sued for conducting a flawed exercise.

Supporting the motion, lawmaker Siyabonga Malandu Ncube of Insiza South said voter registration is not about political parties, adding everyone eligible voter must be given a chance to register.

Kudakwashe Bhasikiti of Zanu PF, representing Mwenezi East, said there was no need to worry as the new constitution stipulates that there shall be a 30 day voter registration exercise once it becomes law.

The voter registration exercise, which began on 29 April, ends on May 19 but political parties have asked for an extension saying the current process has failed to deliver.
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In a related development, leaders from various churches affiliated to the evangelical fellowship of Zimbabwe today met with representatives from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to discuss issues affecting the voter registration exercise and the role churches can play in fostering peace in the country, especially before, during and after elections.

Zimbabwe Devine Destiny executive director, Bishop Ancelimo Magaya, said the meeting agreed the church leaders should mobilise and encourage their members to register and check their names against the voters’ lists so they can participate in the country’s political processes.
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