HARARE – Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda says opposition political parties have done nothing to initiate electoral laws reforms despite their last minute choruses towards the 30 July harmonised elections recently.
Advocate Mudenda was speaking during a meeting with the visiting International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute Joint Zimbabwe International Electoral Observation Mission in Harare this morning.
He said opposition political parties never moved any motion to reform electoral laws from the time of the government of national unity up to 2013 and from 2013 to the last harmonised polls held on 30th of July 2018.
The Speaker of the National Assembly said it is unfortunate that the opposition political parties were sleeping in Parliament and enjoying their privileges only to start raising electoral reforms issues just before the elections.
He said as the speaker responsible for receiving motions he has always been ready to get any proposal on electoral reforms but the only attempt that was ever made towards electoral reforms came from the Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (ZESN) which sadly had no concrete clauses on what needed to be changed and how the changed clauses should read.
The Joint Zimbabwe International Electoral Observation Mission led by Ambassador Johnny Carson and former Liberian president Mrs Ellen Johnson Sirlieaf, is in the country to finalise their report on the elections where they are meeting different stakeholders to clear what they referred to as grey areas.
They have already met the MDC Alliance and they went on to meet the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Honourable Ziyambi Ziyambi.
Advocate Mudenda expressed hope that the 9th new parliament will seize the opportunity for electoral law amendments to ‘ginger’ up electoral processes saying civil society also missed the opportunity.
He said under section 149 of the Constitution any citizen has a right to petition Parliament to consider any matter for amendment of any provision.
He also said he will continue to raise awareness among citizens on this provision during his outreach programmes and paid tribute to President Emmerson Mnangagwa for opening up the democratic space as evidenced in the just ended elections
Turning to the challenges faced in the last electoral process, Advocate Mudenda sarcastically said Zimbabwe was pleasantly surprised and disappointed by the renewal of ZIDERA at a time when the new dispensation is opening up the democratic and business space.
He said the renewal of ZIDERA even before the elections were concluded and at a time when Zimbabwe was desperate for lines of credit to resuscitate the economy.
He said the move painted a picture of Zimbabwe as a pariah state which it is not.
He said the link of ZIDERA to the issue of human rights is another distortion of the country’s image as Zimbabwe is a member of the global village and is doing everything to observe human rights especially under President Mnangagwa’s new dispensation that has pledged to uphold the rule of law and human rights under the UN Charter.
The Speaker of the National Assembly also disputed the observer team’s allegations of a highly contested elections saying the idea of bringing in the ConCourt to rule on the winner is not peculiar to Zimbabwe alone but the same also happened in the United States between George Bush and Al Gore and several other countries.