Zengeza West MP, Job Sikhala (CCC), has defended National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda who has been criticised by his ZANU PF colleagues for saying Zimbabweans living outside the country should be allowed to vote.
Posting on Twitter this Saturday, Sikhala argued that there was nothing amiss for Mudenda to call for the diaspora vote since it is the role of Parliament to amend laws, in this case, the Electoral Act, to ensure that they are in sync with the National Constitution. Wrote Sikhala:
The pontification of @ZECzim’s Priscilla Chigumba has always been to blame the Legislature to put in place Electoral reforms that suit the holding of free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.
The initiative taken by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal & Parliamentary Affairs that culminated in the Kariba retreat last weekend should be seen in that light.
This is the retreat with other stakeholders that studied the pitfalls of our Electoral Act in the present form that various suggestions emerged to align the current Electoral Act with the constitution.
This is when the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda, an Advocate of law, he is, to suggest that no Zimbabwean should be left to participate in the affairs of his/her motherland and that diaspora vote should be allowed.
He said that the diaspora vote can only come via an amendment to the current constitution, to have an unambiguous provision to facilitate the voting of all Zimbabweans no matter their location.
Despite this contentious issue, there are a number of provisions in the current Electoral Act that needs to be changed to be in sync with the new constitution.
The current Electoral Act as it stands is at variance with the new constitution. It needs a complete overhaul and satisfies what needs to be included in the new Electoral Act.
There are other pertinent issues such as gender parity in all spheres of decision making that need to be in included in the new Electoral Act.
There was the recent amendment to the constitution that brought, the women and youth quotas in provincial Councils, local authorities and the Legislature. All of those need to reflect in the Electoral Act.
Zimbabweans of all walks of life must support the current efforts toward Electoral reforms that have been a subject of contention for a long time.
Parliament as the third arm of the state is the institution bestowed with that responsibility to bring sanity to our Electoral Act.
May all those with nefarious agendas allow Speaker Jacob Mudenda to bring agendas of national concern to Parliament.
Those who benefited through the electoral system that had no checks and balances must allow the Legislature to initiate its own agendas. The suggestion for the registration of political parties is new.
Why should we not be allowed to move the agenda to be in sync with other developed democracies in Africa such as Kenya, SA and many others that regulate the operation of political entities?
I urge all of you to rally behind the reform agenda that is being initiated by Parliament.
Our country has had disputed Elections for far too long. We need an electoral framework that will give satisfaction to everyone who will participate in the elections.
I thank you.