‘Secret ballot will kill one-centre-of-power syndrome’

ZENGEZA West legislator, Simon Chidhakwa, is lobbying Parliament to amend laws governing the august House to allow legislators to use the secret ballot and “kill the one-centre-of-power syndrome” wrought by the political parties’ whipping system when passing controversial pieces of legislation.

Source: ‘Secret ballot will kill one-centre-of-power syndrome’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 17, 2017

By Albert Masaka

Chidhakwa said in most instances, legislators are whipped into line and not allowed to freely express their opinion when debating legislation.

“When voting MPs are told to line up and there is no secret ballot system, do you think that a normal MP will vote against their party while ‘Big Brother’ is watching?,” he said.

“If democracy is not found in Parliament, where laws are made, where else can we expect it to be found? That section should be amended to be in line with international standards to kill the one-centre-of-power syndrome perpetuated by [President Robert] Mugabe’s autocratic rule.”

Chidhakwa said the fear that gripped most voters in the country particularly in the rural areas, also prevailed in Parliament, where legislators ended up passing bad laws to the detriment of their constituents and democracy.

“There are a number of laws that went through in Parliament, but were never supposed to pass because Zanu PF MPs voted out of fear. Mugabe would have been impeached a long time ago if there was a secret ballot in the august House because more than three-quarters of the parliamentarians do not want the ailing President anymore.”

He added: “Also, when recalling MPs, if the President is to be impeached or recalled, there has to be a two-thirds majority or more MPs voting in support of the move. Similarly, if an MP is to be recalled, there is need for two-thirds of people in the constituency to support the recall.”

Zanu PF holds the majority in Parliament after winning, amid controversy, the 2013 general elections and analysts have said that its subsequent victories in by-elections have reduced Parliament to another Zanu PF politburo, where unpopular laws always go unchallenged.

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