ZANU PF youths disrupt public hearing on electoral law bill

October 18, 2011 at 9:48 am Leave a comment

By Lance Guma

A group of ZANU PF youths on Monday disrupted a public hearing into the
Electoral Amendment Bill which was being conducted at Nehanda Hall in
Marondera. The incident came hot on the heels of a flopped attempt in the
same town to disrupt a weekend MDC rally addressed by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai.

Speaking to SW Radio Africa Makoni South MP Pishai Mucharauya, who is part
of the parliamentary committee conducting the hearings, said: “A few minutes
into the debate, ZANU PF thugs started to chant some slogans and prevented
those who were perceived to be MDC from contributing to the debate on the
bill.”

The meeting in Marondera was supposed to mark the beginning of a series of
nationwide public consultations on the Electoral Amendment Bill which are
set to end in Harare on the 24th October. But just like previous hearings,
Monday’s meeting had to be aborted because of ZANU PF thugs bussed in to
disrupt.

It’s now the third time that hearings into the bill have been postponed.
Similar attempts in August and September have ended in the same way.
Muchauraya said they later moved to Headlands some 135km away from Harare
and conducted a hearing at the Headlands Community Hall. A small crowd of 50
people came to this meeting and the majority sentiment favoured radical
amendments to the bill which was originally crafted by Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa.

Participants said they wanted ward based voting instead of the polling
station based voting proposed by the bill. They also said soldiers should
not be allowed anywhere near the polling stations nor should police officers
be allowed to assist voters. There was also strong support for people in the
Diaspora to be allowed to vote.

Muchauraya told us that ZANU PF are determined to block the Diaspora from
voting and that they also prefer having people vote at the nearest polling
station so that they can use their loyal chiefs and headman to coerce
voters.

In another example of the intolerance that can be seen at the hearings; in
Headlands Presidential Affairs Minister Didymus Mutasa and about four ZANU
PF MP’s walked away because they did not like the submissions from the
people who came to contribute.

Meanwhile the High Court last week ordered Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwe
Election Commission to call for by-elections in Lupane East, Nkayi South and
Bulilima East. The seats became vacant after the three MP’s were sacked by
the MDC led by Welshman Ncube. The MP’s took the matter to court challenging
an inter-party agreement not to contest by-elections should they fall
vacant.

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