The government has approved the amendment of the Electoral Act, a key legislation in the country’s electoral processes, ahead of next year’s harmonised polls.
A number of Election 2018 Observer Missions (EOM) have recommended a number of amendments to the Electoral Act as part of electoral reforms ahead of the 2023 elections.
Civic society and media practitioners have also petitioned the Parliament of Zimbabwe on electoral reforms, bordering on amendments to the Electoral Act.
Briefing the media in the capital this week, after a Cabinet meeting, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, said the government had since approved amendments to the Act.
“Cabinet received and approved the Electoral Amendment Bill 2022 as presented by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Honourable Ziyambi Ziyambi,” said Mutsvangwa.
“The nation is being informed that the Bill seeks to amend the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13] to provide for, among others: the timeframe within which National Assembly and Local Authority candidates can withdraw from contesting in an election; incorporation of the 30% women quota as well as the youth quota; and amendment of the definition of proof of identity.”
Mutsvangwa said in terms of the constitution of Zimbabwe, one has to be a citizen in order to qualify as a voter.
“Accordingly, only the valid Passport or National Identity Card will be required as proof of identity,” she explained.
“Once the Electoral Amendment Bill; 2022 is enacted into law, it will assist in ensuring that only citizens are able to vote in an election; that proper candidates are allowed to contest in an election; providing clarity on when and how a candidate can withdraw their candidature in an election so as to afford ZEC sufficient time to make changes to the design of the ballot; and advising the electorate of any changes to the candidature in an election.”
However, civic society organisations and opposition political parties have in the past called for proper consultations and multi-stakeholder engagement on amendments to the Act owing to its centrality in the management of the country’s elections.