, HARARE, Jul 1 – Zimbabwe\’s parliament is set to amend election laws to speed up the announcement of results and create a system for reporting political violence ahead of new polls, the justice minister said on Thursday.
The proposed changes come two years after President Robert Mugabe claimed victory in disputed elections that plunged the nation into violence and eventually led to a unity government with his rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
The unity government is meant to draft a new constitution that will pave the way to fresh elections, but the reform process is running about a year behind schedule.
"The parties have agreed to amend the Electoral Act so that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is obliged to declare presidential election results not more than five days after the day of voting," Chinamasa said in state media.
The rival parties also agreed to set up "a special body to receive complaints or allegations of politically-motivated acts of violence, to monitor and carry out investigations of such reports," Chinamasa said.
The proposed changes are part of the unity agreement between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, meant to ease political tensions and mend an economy ravaged by hyperinflation.
The new bill, if approved, is expected to pave way for fresh polls to replace the power-sharing regime.
Tsvangirai has consistently criticised the country\’s flawed electoral laws which he said favoured the incumbent as well as strict media and public order laws which limit dissenting voices.