Out of touch MPs in trouble

PROSPECTIVE Members of Parliament seeking election in constituencies in which they do not reside will now have to get approval from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, according to new electoral amendments.

Voters who want to cast their ballots in constituencies in which they do not reside shall also have to lodge a claim form with ZEC.

The changes, outlined in Statutory Instrument 117 of 2017, also give those who want to register as voters the power to fill in claim forms without the mandatory assistance of the voter registration office.

These amendments to the Electoral Act have come into effect through the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act (Chapter 10:20) published in a recent Government Gazette.

Section 25 (a) (ii) of the Electoral Act reads: “Where an applicant seeks transfer of registration because he or she intends to be a candidate for election as a Member of Parliament in a constituency in which he or she is not a resident, the applicant shall send the appropriate prescribed form to the Commission for its approval.”

This amendment is likely to affect several MPs who do not resident in their constituencies. The current Parliament has several MPs who reside in affluent suburbs but are representatives of high density areas and rural constituencies.

According to the amendment of Section 24 of the Electoral Act, citizens will fill in claim forms and submit to the voter registration officer.

In part,SI 117 of 2017, reads: “Any person who wishes to be registered as a voter on the voters roll of any constituency shall complete the appropriate prescribed claim form and submit it to a voter registration officer at the appropriate registration office.

“Provided that a claimant — (i) may request the assistance of a voter registration officer at the appropriate registration office to complete the appropriate prescribed claim form, and the officer shall comply with that request.”

Previously, the voter registration officer would fill the claim forms on behalf of anyone who wanted to register to vote.  The new amendment increases the participation of voters in the electoral process and minimises chances of errors since prospective voters will personally fill in their respective details.

Prospective voters who want to register or change constituency shall submit the claim form and a voter’s registration certificate to a voter registration officer.

 

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