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This article participates on the following special index pages:
New Constitution-making process - Index of articles
on Zimbabwe referendum
Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum
March 15, 2013
Solidarity Forum (ZSF) sends best wishes to the people of Zimbabwe
on the eve of the Referendum scheduled for this weekend. We wish
the people of Zimbabwe a peaceful and decisive referendum outcome
and encourage effective participation of all the people of Zimbabwe
in shaping Zimbabwe’s destiny.
We commend the
enduring resilience, dedication and sacrifices that the people of
Zimbabwe have shown over the past years and we pledge our full solidarity
support in their struggle for democracy. As a practical example
of people to people solidarity, the ZSF is sending an accredited
delegation of election observers to monitor
the Referendum over the weekend. A report back meeting and press
conference will be organised after the results have been announced.
The ZSF also
welcomes the recent resolution of the COSATU International Relations
Committee (IRC) and concurs with the observation that, albeit that
the referendum provides hope and the potential to rebuild a peaceful
and prosperous Zimbabwe, the situation on the ground has the dangerous
potential of degenerating further into a deeper crisis, unless the
ruling regime in particular, and all parties in general, are willing
to facilitate and ensure the full and effective implementation of
Political Agreement as underwritten by SADC, and led by President,
Jacob Zuma as the facilititaor.
Indeed the Referendum
and constitution-making process should be seen as elements of a
broader package of reforms to which all parties must fully adhere
and abide by towards a free and fair elections, conducted under
a peaceful and conducive environment. Even if the Referendum indicates
support for the adoption of the newly drafted Constitution it will
only be when the measures it contains are implemented in full that
the minimum conditions for a free and fair election will have been
of the Solidarity Transformation Agenda at the ACTION Support Centre
argues that: “A new Constitution that is not properly implemented
before an election takes place will simply serve as another smokescreen
that disguises the ongoing assault on the rights and freedoms of
the Zimbabwean people.”
Closely monitoring the events in Zimbabwe over the past 2 months,
the ZSF is concerned about the immediate and long-term implications
of the escalating attacks on human rights activists and civil society
organisations. These disturbing incidents include the arrest and
intimidation of civil society leaders, including
Jestina Mukoko, of the Zimbabwe
Peace Project, Okay Machisa and Leo Chamahwinya of ZimRights
of the leadership and members of Women
of Zimbabwe Arise.
of radios, the rejection of accreditation applications by some of
the civil society organisations that sought to monitor the Referendum,
police attacks on opposition political parties gatherings, deportations
of International media representatives seeking to cover the referendum
and the fresh disappearances of human rights activists do not bode
well for a context that should be focused on creating the conditions
for an open and unfettered expression of the peoples will.
The ZSF therefore
remains fully supportive of the call to ensure the full implementation
of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), including the Road Map
towards a free and fair election climate, and remains steadfast
in its belief that any election held before these conditions have
been met will result in another disputed election outcome that will
take Zimbabwe, and the region back to the conditions
of 2008. The Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC)
has a critical role to play in this period, ensuring a full report
on current conditions guides the decisions made by SADC as the guarantor
of the GPA.
The ZSF is committed
to deepening its solidarity efforts with its civic partners in Zimbabwe,
and in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Solidarity Movement from
the SADC region, across the African continent, and around the world.
Now is the time to use the democratic space opened up by the referendum
process to call attention to the ongoing forms of repression and
to build forms of organisation that can operate with vigilance and
Only by working
together in this critical time will we be able to ensure the creation
of an enabling environment towards free and fair elections.
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