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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
Civil Society position statement after Maputo Special SADC Summit
Zimbabwean Civil Society Organisations
June 19, 2013
We Civil Society
Leaders gathered here in Johannesburg, South Africa want to commend
SADC Heads of State and Government for taking a stand
in support of the constitutionally guaranteed liberties and rights
of the people of Zimbabwe. We highly commend The Maputo Communiqué
resolution 8.6 that ‘urged the three parties to the GPA
to undertake immediate measures to create a conducive environment
for the holding of peaceful, credible, free and fair elections’.
As Civil society we want to congratulate SADC for reiterating our
long-standing position that there is need for the implementation
of critical reforms before the forthcoming harmonized elections
in Zimbabwe. We also acknowledge the Maputo resolution 8.5, which
urged “the Government of Zimbabwe to engage the Constitutional
Court to seek more time beyond 31 July deadline
for holding the harmonized elections. We are of the same view
that the 31st of July deadline has literally retrogressed efforts
towards the creation of a conducive electoral environment to ensure
the holding of credible, free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. The
role of SADC in monitoring the progress and compliance of the Inclusive
Government remains essential and imperative for the conduct of free
and fair elections. It is our belief that it is only through implementation
of the framework guaranteed by SADC and AU that Zimbabwe can be
able to have free, fair and peaceful elections whose outcome will
be respected by all political players, SADC and the AU.
to hold credible, free and fair elections the following fundamental
concerns need to be urgently addressed and implemented:
Environment for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Human Rights
and intensifying clampdown on CSOs and HRDs remains a matter of
great concern. Between October 2012 and April 2013, police have
detained and or arrested a total of 681 HRDs. Of the 681 HRDs, 360
were from CSOs and only 20 have been prosecuted. Lawyers providing
legal aid to CSOs and HRDs have also been obnoxiously targeted to
unsettle the sector and instill fear through threats, arrests and
prosecution based on frivolous charges.
on CSOs has been strategic, intentional, well-planned, and well-resourced
and implemented by state apparatus.
In the past
8 months several coalitions and networks of CSOs representing over
500 000 members have been targeted and criminalized based on flimsy
and trumped up charges.
and journalists continue to be harassed through attacks from senior
politicians, unlawful arrests and threats of closure.
continue to operate in a repressive environment. The Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), the Broadcasting
Services Act (BSA), Criminal
Law Codification and Reform Act and Official
Secrets Act continue to be selectively applied.
These laws need
to be urgently realigned to the New Constitution.
The public media
is partisan, unprofessional and inaccessible to some political players
and civil society. In full defiance of the GPA, it continues to
churn out partisan propaganda and hate speech.
management and administration
We note with
concern, the abuse of the Presidential
Powers (Temporary Measures) Act by the President of Zimbabwe
to subvert the legislative functions of Parliament in effecting
the changes to the Electoral
As civil society
we are dismayed by the usurpation of the Parliament’s legislative
function by the President.
fact that ZEC has limited capacity and resources to conduct effective
voter education and registration, the exercise remains exclusionary
and chaotic. Given that we are now 8 days into the 30-day constitutionally
mandated voter registration period and 42 days before the holding
of harmonized elections (based on the 31st of July election date
decreed by the President) we are concerned that ZEC has not accredited
or announced any civil society organization to conduct voter education.
in the Electoral Act regarding the provision of voter education
have been used to exclude CSOs and criminalize their lawful work.
We note with
concern the disenfranchisement of the eligible voters that could
ensue due to the limited time frame being allocated for the purposes
of inspecting the voter’s roll. Additionally the synchronizing
of the voter registration and the voter’s roll inspection
could disadvantage many eligible voters.
of the constitution of Zimbabwe and SADC Principles and Guidelines
Governing the Conduct of Democratic Elections, security service
chiefs continue to deploy military personnel in communities to intimidate
and harass dissenting voices.
raised above constitute a threat to SADC and AU’s efforts
towards ensuring that Zimbabwe holds a credible, free and fair election,
which guarantees peace and stability in the region. We commend the
SADC Facilitator to the Zimbabwe Political Dialogue for recommending
that there be reforms to do with our security sector before the
We kindly urge
SADC to ensure that the Government of Zimbabwe fully implements
the following minimum conditions as guided by the SADC resolutions
of 10 May 2013 (in Cape Town) and 15 June 2013 (in Maputo) for democratic
elections in Zimbabwe:
1. Allow civil
society organizations to carry out their lawful activities without
harassment, raids, restrictions and unlawful arrests.
2. Ensure that
the public media is accessible to all citizens, political players
and allow media practitioners and journalists to operate freely
without intimidation or restrictions from repressive legislation
3. Allow parliament
to carry out its legislative mandate by ensuring that all laws that
have a bearing on the conduct of elections are realigned with the
4. Reform and
professionalize ZEC and urgently establish the electoral court,
carry out an all-inclusive voter education exercise, conduct a transparent,
accessible and acceptable voter registration exercise.
5. Allow interested
foreign observer missions to observe the election and guarantee
safety and security of persons to local observers.
and depoliticize the security sector and ensure that security service
chiefs do not make pronouncements or engage in actions that are
partisan and unconstitutional.
with resolution 8.4(v) of the Maputo Special Summit and in the spirit
of democracy, peace and stability in the region in general and Zimbabwe
in particular - we directly appeal to SADC in its capacity as the
Guarantor of the GPA to urgently deploy its election observer mission
to Zimbabwe so as to comprehensively observe the whole electoral
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