Home#ElectionsZWElectoral Amendment Bill: let's conduct public hearings again, says Chinyanganya

Electoral Amendment Bill: let’s conduct public hearings again, says Chinyanganya

Electoral Amendment Bill: let’s conduct public hearings again, says Chinyanganya

Kadoma Central legislator Muchineripi Chinyanganya has called on Parliament to consider redoing public hearings for the Electoral Amendment Bill, arguing that people were not afforded an opportunity to give their views.

The public hearings for the Bill were conducted via radio, while the one on Zoom was abandoned after alleged pornographic material was shared.

Due to load-shedding that has been experienced in the country since the second half of 2022, most people are not able to connect their radios, while others live in areas that do not have broadcast signals and they receive broadcast signals from neighbouring countries.

Data in Zimbabwe is also expensive and beyond the reach of many people to be able to connect to Zoom. The quality of connectivity is relatively poor making it altogether difficult for the majority to join.

The Kadoma Central legislator is of the view that people in his constituency and even across the country might have been disenfranchised in the process and wants it to be restarted.

‘’I will move on to the next point which is the inclusion of the public in Parliament processes. Section 141 of the Constitution is clear that when Parliament is conducting its businesses and more precisely the business which concerns the public, then Parliament has to consult widely in that regard by undertaking public consultations.

‘’The Committee undertook processes which I believe left out the majority of the population of Zimbabwe because the consultations were done on radio. Currently, we are experiencing massive load-shedding and as such, most areas will not have a transmission for ZBC.

‘’Madam Speaker, I will give an example of Chegutu, Kadoma, and Binga. When there is no power, the public does not have access to radio and as such, it means that people will not have access to these consultations. People did not have the chance to make their input and the next process was done virtually. How many people afford data to connect to these proceedings?

‘’So, Madam Speaker, this disenfranchised the majority of the population of Zimbabwe in giving their input in these public hearings,’’ he said.

Honourable Chinyanganya said it was surprising that during the height of COVID-19, Parliament was able to conduct physical public hearings, but now that the pandemic has eased, it is now failing.

‘’During the COVID-19 era, we undertook public hearings despite the fact that there was COVID. We would move around the country as the Justice Committee gathering public views. So why was this not done? We have moved past the COVID era.

‘’Next week, Madam Speaker, the Justice Committee is going to be conducting public hearings on two Bills. So why was this Bill excluded from the public consultations that are usually done by Parliament?

‘’So, I propose that these public hearings should be redone so that we include all the views of the general population, be it the people in Kadoma, Binga, or Muzarabani. They have to have their input in this Bill Madam Speaker,’’ he said.

Although Section 141 of the Constitution requires that Parliament involve and consult the public in its legislative and other processes, most Zimbabweans have been snubbing the public hearings.

At one point only one person turned up for the public hearing in Mutare for the Pensions and Insurance Bill. The reason for the snub is that most people who have attended the public hearings have accused Parliament of ignoring their views.

Electoral Amendment Bill: let’s conduct public hearings again, says Chinyanganya

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