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response to CSOs letter of protest
Zimbabwean Civil Society Organisations
March 14, 2013
letter of our protest
to GNU Principals, around the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)’s
refusal to accredit some local NGOs. We wish to acknowledge receipt
of the Principals’ response delivered through private correspondence
and public announcements.
In their response,
the Principals concurred with the position we have been maintaining
all along - that no local organization should be barred on the basis
cited by ZEC. The Principals also urged ZEC to allow ZIMRIGHTS
and other organizations in similar situations to accredit to observe
We would also like to
acknowledge that, without reference to our communication, ZEC as
of yesterday had altered its position on the matter asserting that
no local organization would be barred from accrediting to observe
the referendum with the exception of one - ZIMRIGHTS.
that the NGO had been barred from accrediting to
observe the referendum on the basis that it was facing “serious
At the present time,
we have urged affected NGOs to attempt accreditation with ZEC based
on ZEC’s pronouncements of 13 March 2013 during its final
referendum observer briefing, and the above understanding.
We continue to monitor
the situation and will be holding a press conference at 11am on
Friday 15 March 2013 to address the issue of accreditation and our
actions thereof. Furthermore, we will also present our pre-referendum
state of play report.
We remain convinced that
ZEC, with respect to their independence and mandate to accredit
observers, have no right to set aside constitutionally enshrined
provisions and values around the presumption of innocence when deciding
who can or cannot observe the referendum and other electoral processes.
We also advise that in
light of standing communication from ZEC, ZIMRIGHTS has filed an
urgent High Court chamber application seeking to ask ZEC’s
accreditation committee to reconvene and reconsider their application.
wish to advise that the High Court ruled in favor of Mr Okay Machisa,
the Director of ZIMRIGHTS stating that his placement on remand
be set aside and rendered invalid. Furthermore, the High Court issued
an order that Mr Machisa be immediately removed from remand.
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