Zimbabwe’s opposition parties have no capacity to effect electoral reforms in Parliament owing to the whipping system, former speaker, Lovemore Moyo, has said.
Moyo was speaking recently during the Breakfast Club, an online programme hosted by CITE.
He said while the laws allow MPs to introduce bills, the whipping system remained a setback.
“I think the room is there because the constitution allows that and also the rules of the standing order allow the introduction of a private member bill that is sponsored by an MP,” said Moyo.
“You know an ordinary MP, a group of MPs, or an individual MP can sponsor that to effect either any form of reform in Parliament or amendments of the laws of the country but the biggest challenge is that the democracy that we experience in Parliament is a managed and tightly-controlled democracy. The whipping system in a way constrains Members of Parliament from freely exercising their roles because your party would list priorities of legislation they want to be brought to Parliament and it is highly unlikely that as an individual you would bring it unless you go and fight it in your caucus and allow your caucus buy-in to that particular amendment that you want.”
He said the opposition was not strong enough to single-handedly push for electoral reforms.
“I am not sure whether the opposition has the stamina to push through legislative reforms on elections because what has been practised is that the Minister responsible would bring amendments to Parliament on electoral reforms and both the opposition and ruling party MPs will have the opportunity to make minor amendments as well, “ said Moyo.
“It’s a question that is still outstanding and unfortunately unless the government decides to allow the amendments like they did with the previous amendments that were achieved during the GNU (Government of National Unity) and so on time. You would find that there was a compromise and some understanding between the ruling party and the opposition that, ‘let’s amend’ and then we achieved something. But as things stand now, it is difficult to see how the opposition can change the electoral laws as they are now.”