The parliamentary, legal and civil rights watchdog Veritas said that the ruling Zanu-PF party might find it difficult to change the constitution because it does not have a two-thirds majority in the senate. Zanu-PF has 180 seats on 270 in the National Assembly, which is exactly two-thirds. In the Senate Zanu-PF has 35 seats out of 80, although the traditional chefs have 18 seats. Veritas writes in a bulletin
Distribution of Senate seats
Total 80 seats
Senators representing persons with disabilities]
- No 2/3 majority for ZANU-PF The total of 35 seats of ZANU PF is far behind the two-thirds majority [54 votes – Constitution, section 344(3)] necessary to implement a constitutional amendment. Even if all 18 senator-chiefs would vote with the ZANU PF 35 [totalling 53]it would still need a senator to make up for the 54 required votes.
- Senators for women There are 35 female senators. 35 of the total membership of the Senate of 80 is 43.75%, closer to the 50% mark of the constitution than the 31.5% of the National Assembly.
- Party list [See next paragraph]
- Senator Chiefs [See later paragraph]
- physical reps [Senators representing persons with disabilities] [These two Senators, one of whom must be a woman, were elected by a special Electoral College [see later paragraph].
Allocation of seats with party lists
The allocation of all these chairs has been done at ZEC & # 39; s provincial command centers by provincial elections officers [Electoral Act, section 45I and Eighth Schedule]. In each province, the seats for the party party list had to be based on the votes received by the participating political parties in that province, as reflected in the return forms for each constituency in the province.
After receiving all return shipments from the constituency [on form V.23B] for the province, the provincial electoral officer was obliged to inform candidates, their election agents and observers when the declarations would be verified and sorted – to enable them to exercise their right to be present. At the agreed time, the return of the constituency had to be verified first and then collected in order to arrive at the total number of votes registered in the province for electoral candidates of the participating parties. The party table seats [6, for the Senate, 6 for the National Assembly women’s quota and 10 for the provincial council] then it had to be divided among the participating parties in accordance with the formulas set out in the Eighth Annex to the Elections Act.
A provincial return had to be prepared, copies were provided to those present during the verification and collation, and a copy was shown prominently outside the provincial command center so that the public could inspect and register the content. Finally, a certified copy of the provincial return had to be forwarded to the ZEC National Command Center.
The 18 Senate seats for Senator Chiefs were filled with a three-phase process as described in Part XX of the Electoral Act, with each phase being chaired by a ZEC official:
- election of the Board of Chiefs by provincial meetings of tribal chiefs [11th July]
- election of the president and deputy chairman of the Board of Chiefs by the members of the Board of Chiefs [18th July]. The President of the Council and his representative ex officioSenators. The chiefs Charumbira and Mtshane were re-elected as president and vice president respectively.
- election of the other 16 Senator Chiefs by provincial meetings of tribal chiefs [1st August]. Each in the eight non-urban provinces chose two leaders; there are no Senator Chiefs representing the metropolitan provinces Bulawayo and Harare.
Senators representing persons with disabilities
The Seventh Appendix to the Elections Act describes the procedure for the formation under ZEC & # 39; s supervision of an electoral college with the sole function of choosing two handicapped persons, one of whom must be a woman, as senators to promote the interests of the disabled. the Senate. The electoral college consists of disabled persons who are registered voters and who are otherwise qualified to be senators [over 40 years of age, Zimbabwe citizens, etc.] They have been nominated for membership of the Electoral College by organizations that help disabled people, institutions providing services to disabled people and registered trusts whose mandate is to help people with disabilities. Half of the members must be female. The elected senators do not have to come from members of the electoral college. The electoral college met on August 3 and has elected two senators to represent persons with disabilities.