Zimbabwe youths to get uncontested seats in parliament

HARARE – Zimbabwean youths could soon see their demands for seats in both parliament and local authorities granted after cabinet Tuesday approved the Electoral Amendment Bill 2022, which seeks to, among other objectives, create seats to be contested only among women and youths.

Under the 2013 constitution, women already enjoy seats in parliament under the proportional representation system.

But under this regime, only parties that garner set threshold during parliamentary elections per given area have the ticket to second their own choices of persons to fill up seats availed by the PR dispensation.

However, youths, a highly vocal constituency on national governance affairs that has been up in arms over being left out of decision making processes with a bearing on their future, will finally get a quota within the country’s legislative arm.

Women, likewise, have complained about being bullied by their better resourced and aggressive male competitors, something that has seen a lot of them shy away from the country’s dog- eat-dog electoral arena.

Speaking at a post-cabinet media briefing Tuesday, Information Ministry Monica Mutsvangwa said the Electoral Act was set to be amended with a deliberate aim of ushering in women and youths ahead of next year’s polls.

“The nation is being informed that the Bill seeks to amend the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13] to provide for, among others: the timeframe within which National Assembly and Local Authority candidates can withdraw from contesting in an election; incorporation of the 30% women quota as well as the youth quota; and amendment of the definition of proof of identity. In terms of the constitution of Zimbabwe, one has to be a citizen in order to qualify as a voter.

“Accordingly, only the valid Passport or National Identity Card will be required as proof of identity” Mutsvangwa said, adding that the envisaged Electoral Amendment Act will nsur “proper” candidates take part in the country’s polls.

“That proper candidates are allowed to contest in an election; providing clarity on when and how a candidate can withdraw their candidature in an election so as to afford ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) sufficient time to make changes to the design of the ballot; and advising the electorate of any changes to the candidature in an election,” said the minister.

Zimbabwe’s next elections are due next year.

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