13:39 – Prof. Madhuku, who is making an academic analysis of the law versus the petition, says POSA has since been given the thumbs up through the courts as a good law. He says it will be difficult to sustain a petition against it with regard to law and order which it addresses adequately.
13:37 – Currently regulations made by ZEC must be approved by the Minister who then publishes them. This, petitioners argues, compromises the independence of the Commission.
13:33 – He made this with reference to the call for the independence of ZEC which petitioners said should not work through the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
13:29 – Professor Madhuku reminds participants that bodies like ZEC do not make laws and only Parliament has that responsibility. “ZEC can only work within and apply the law as it is.”
13:28 – Prof. Madhuku says reform of the law must be done in total and not just for elections.
13:28 – He says when calling for reform of the law, one should know that the laws are interconnected so that when one looks at one aspect of the law, one should remember that its change will affect other laws as well.
13:26 – Prof. Madhuku says it is important for the petitioners to know and study the law as most people tend to shout about that which is not in the law thereby misleading the nation. He says the constitution must be looked at in total and not to focus on one aspect and ignore the rest.
13:23 – Professor Lovemore Madhuku now makes his presentation reacting to the ZEC petition on violence during elections.
11:57 – Cde Charamba further urges the media to self regulate, pointing out that the media on Zimbabwe has now come of age. He says there is need for a code of conduct for journalists rather than for waiting for his Ministry to come in and intervene.
11:56 – On the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), Cde Charamba explains that the media body does not report to his Ministry but to Parliament.
He tells the conference that even the budget of ZMC is taken care of through the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs distancing his Ministry far from the media body.
11:53 – We resume with Cde Charamba makes a further presentation in response to interventions made following his initial presentation.
10:44 – End of presentation for the police.
10:43 – He adds that there is no need for a code of conduct for police officers as they are continuously trained and act within the law.
10:41 – On demonstrations he says: “There is need to protect the demonstrators and non-demonstrators. Such processions are usually hijacked by malcontents and thugs leading to violence and loss of property and lives. So police must decide if it is safe with stakeholder consultations to allow a demonstration.”
10:37 – On the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) Assistant Commissioner Chivhayo says the law secures an equilibrium between the need to protect individual rights and maintain law and order.
10:30 – He says police have a duty to enforce the law as it is and it’s not the duty of the police to change the law.
10:28 – He says police have the duty to uphold the constitution and has developed different strategies to align themselves to it in through the Police Charter
10:27 – ZRP Deputy Director for Legal Affairs, Assistant Commissioner Naison Chivhayo presents on the position of the Police with regard to law and order referred to in the petition during elections
10:08 – End of presentation, now question time.
10:08 – Cde Charamba says soon the Ministry will call for stakeholders to retreat and examine both AIPPA and the BSA [Broadcasting Services Act]
10:05 – He says on the Broadcasting Services Act there is need to review the law not because of complaints raised but because of technological developments which should be taken into consideration
10:04 – Cde Charamba says on AIPPA [Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act] the great part of the law focuses on access to information from all public bodies but however a lot of time was lost on the issue of registration.
“AIPPA is meant to make information available in the public interest, something which journalists have not exercised.”
09:56 – Cde Charamba: “That’s why there are rules making it important for broadcasting to be treated differently and have clear rules.”
09:55 – He says Broadcasting is governed by frequencies which are finite thus there is a limit to who can broadcast.
09:54 – Cde Charamba says political parties are allowed to own newspapers.
09:52 – The Permanent Secretary for Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Cde George Charamba addresses delegates. He says during elections the media is governed by the ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission).
“Although the print media is free to cover as they wish, once they give space to one political parties they should give to all.”
Day 2 of the conference begins in Bulawayo (25-06-17)
1530: Chief Charumbira said chiefs through their village heads can assist in voter education as they have a record of the people.
1529: He says the entry of civic organisations in voter education has created friction especially in rural areas where they are viewed with suspicion and seen as carrying various agendas.
1527: He challenged the civic society to be independent in civic education as much as they demand ZEC to be independent in voter education.
1526: The Chiefs Council president said chiefs are the stockholders of the nation and want to see the country progressing democratically.
“We only read such issues in the newspapers,” he said.
1519: Chief Charumbira noted that as chiefs they are surprised that no one has ever approached the National Chiefs Council which is a national institution to raise issues against chiefs as alleged.
1517: He said, on the code of conduct, the constitution in section 287 outlines the integrity of traditional leaders and that can be used to come up with a code of conduct for chiefs.
1514: “In other countries like Britain the Queen has a clear position where anyone who wins an election should be granted the permission to form the next government by the Queen. In Zimbabwe the role of a chief in this regard is not clear,” said Chief Charumbira.
1509: He said this in response to calls for a code of conduct to ensure chiefs remain apolitical.
1508: Chiefs Charumbira says the law should specify the role of Chiefs in the democratisation process. Meanwhile, the constitution makes it clear that Chiefs must be respected.
1507: President of the Chiefs Council, Chief Fortune Charumbira said chiefs embrace all ‘children’ regardless of whatever political parties they come from.
Chief Fortune Charumbira addresses delegates
1506: President of the Chiefs Council, Chief Fortune Charumbira takes to the podium to address delegates.
1500: The ZEC representative who is a commissioner said the electoral body is committed to working with stakeholders whenever the need arises following complaints that they have closed doors on stakeholders engagement.
1450: The electoral body noted that they operate within the law and will continue to do so under any laws or alignments which parliament may push or come up with.
1440: On ZEC’s independence, the body said reporting to the Minister of Legal, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs has not compromised their independence.
1027: The electoral laws reform process continues.
1026: Commissioner Ndlovu said there are arms responsible for this, which in this case is the police.
1025: On violence during elections, ZEC highlighted that there is no authority to police or punish offenders saying the petition calls for a peaceful environment.
1021: A representative of ZEC Commissioner Sibongile Ndlovu, based in Bulawayo who made a presentation on behalf of the institution told the meeting that Justice Makarau is currently out of the country on assignment.
1019: He said voter education is important as over the years a small number of people has been voted as compared to the number of registered voters.
1018: Honourable Mudenda said the electoral law system must look at democracy within political parties where chefs can decide who goes to primary elections questioning their democracy and what should the law say.
1016: Honourable Mudenda castigated politicians to stop politics of the pursue where those with money can buy themselves through funding their campaigns and bribing the electorate.
1015: He said the process must be driven by patriotism and respect for Zimbabweans and the constitution.
1014: Honourable Mudenda said the electoral reform process must be guided by the country’s constitution adding that the reform process must not be rushed and is surprised the petition comes 4 years after the new constitution and 12 months before the next general election.
0955: The conference is focused on civil society electoral reform petition and alignment following the enactment of a new constitution presented to the conference led by the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Portfolio Committee.
ZEC is led by Justice Rita Makarau and Mr Okay Machisa is the Director at Zimbabwe Human Rights Association.
0950: Honourable Mudenda inquired the whereabouts of the two heads of the organisation by name and was not amused by their absence.
0949: The speaker of parliament said all institutions invited are expected to be represented at the highest level and should take parliament business seriously.
Delegates at the electoral reform petition
The conference dubbed, “Promoting Public Involvement in Parliamentary Business” has brought together civic society, traditional leaders and executive institutions.
0947: Speaker of Parliament Honourable Jacob Mudenda has lashed out at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association for being under-represented at the ongoing two day Parliamentary Interface conference being held in Bulawayo.