ELECTION WATCH 12/2018
[17th May 2018]
Electoral Amendment Bill Through the Senate
No New Amendments
The Bill was transmitted to the Senate from the National Assembly late on Thursday. As there had been so many amendments made in the National Assembly a new version of the Bill incorporating these amendments was prepared for the Senate [link]
The receipt of the Bill from the National Assembly was announced in the Senate on Tuesday, and it went through all stages yesterday [Wednesday] piloted by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, who is the responsible Minister. The Bill will now be sent to the President for signature before being gazetted as an Act.
No amendments were proposed by Senators.
A question put to the Minister was whether political parties would be able to see the printing of the ballot papers. The answer was that printing would be done in terms of the procurement law, but that any party has the right to ask for information from ZEC and ZEC is obliged to answer .
Another question was whether there would be special desks at polling stations for the disabled. The Minister replied it was a good proposal and ZEC should consider it.
Will the Amended Electoral Act be Fully Compliant with Constitution
It is Veritas opinion that there are still provisions that are not aligned with our Constitution.
Will ZEC’s Electoral Practice be in Line with the Law?
Until ZEC procedures have been made fully transparent this cannot be assessed.
Other Acts need Aligning to the Constitution before Free Fair and Credible Elections
POSA, AIPPA, Criminal Law Code Section 31 [overbroad criminalisation of statements “prejudicial to the State“], the Interception of Communications Act and the Censorship Act. Mostly these are Acts controlling civil liberties – freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. On of the main problems with these laws is that they have not been used impartially. The affect of non-alignment before elections can only be offset If they are not used punitively against opposition parties
Laws against Interference in Elections Must be Strictly Adhered to
Laws that must be strictly adhered to and enforced include: laws against any form of violence and intimidation; laws against any involvement, interference or intimidation by the military or any other security service; laws ; laws that traditional leaders cannot be involved in party politics.