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Mugabe Signs Zimbabwe Election Law to Align It With Constitution

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe signed legislation that brings the nation’s election laws in line with the constitution, Virginia Mabhiza, permanent secretary of the Justice Ministry, told lawmakers today.

The law allows for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to take control of the voters’ roll from the Registrar General’s office, which oversees registration of births and deaths and identity cards. Opposition parties, including the Movement for Democratic Change, have criticized the government for failing to give them access to an electronic copy of the roll in elections between 2000 and last year.

Under the new legislation, women will be guaranteed at least 60 seats each in the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, and the Senate, Mabhiza said. It also allows political parties to place two representatives inside voting stations during elections, up from one previously.

Section 15 of the amended law allows parties to submit lists of “qualified persons” to the ZEC to fill vacancies in either house of the legislature between elections, said Mabhiza.

Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party currently has a vacant seat in the Senate, following the death of Kumbirai Kangai in August last year. Zanu-PF will probably nominate former central bank Governor Gideon Gono for the post, party spokesman Rugare Gumbo said by phone today from the capital, Harare.

“We’re just waiting for the legal processes to take their course,” Gumbo said.