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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
press statement on the reasons why the Zimbabwe harmonised elections
on 31 July 2013 may not be fair and credible
Botswana Civil Society Solidarity Coalition for Zimbabwe
July 30, 2013
Civil Society Solidarity Coalition for Zimbabwe (BOCISCOZ) is concerned
that the upcoming
Zimbabwe harmonised elections on 31 July 2013, may not be fair
and credible. BOCISCOZ would like to raise the following concerns:
- Given the
financial constraints and short time period set, the adequate
and effective planning for the elections has not been done. A
consequence of inadequate planning was seen during the special
voting by police and army officials on 14 July 2013. A majority
of the security forces who will be on duty during the July 31
election, were unable to vote due to the late delivery and distribution
of ballot papers, as well as delays at polling stations. The Constitutional
Court has ruled that the officials who failed to vote in the special
vote will be able to do so on 31 July 2013. Concerns raised include
that this may render the system vulnerable to double voting by
some officials. It may also make it possible for people to vote
on behalf of others, as the voters' roll is not reliable. This
may affect the credibility of the elections.
citizens in the Diaspora will not be able to vote in this coming
election. Section 155(2) of the Constitution
of Zimbabwe obligates the state to ensure that all eligible citizens
qualified to vote are registered, and that every citizen who is
eligible to vote in an election or referendum is afforded the
opportunity to cast a vote. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
has only made provision for Zimbabwean civil servants to vote
in the Diaspora. By denying other Zimbabweans in the Diaspora
the opportunity to exercise their constitutional right to vote,
this right is being violated. This may affect the credibility
of the elections.
- The number
of voters registered in the voters' roll is not reflective of
the actual number of people who may vote. A report
by the Research
and Advocacy Unit (RAU), a non-governmental research body
based in Zimbabwe, revealed that the 2013 voters' roll contains
names of people who are either absent from Zimbabwe or are deceased.
The RAU report stated 'there are well over one million (1,000,000)
people on the roll who are either deceased or departed'. The short
registration time has made it difficult for people to travel to
their constituencies to examine the voters' roll. The incongruity
in the voters' roll may result in rigging of votes. As at 29 July
2013, the official voters' roll had not been publicised, yet section
21 of the Zimbabwe Electoral
Act (Chapter 2:13) requires that the voters' roll be made
freely available to all contesting candidates and political parties.
This may prevent the elections being credible and fair.
- There are
reports of violence and arrests surrounding the election process.
A journalist who took photographs of the registration process
was arrested and charged with being a public nuisance in terms
of the Miscellaneous Offences Act. Newsday reported that seven
(7) MDC-T activists were attacked and injured by suspected Zanu-PF
supporters in Chitungwiza when they went to the area to put up
campaign posters and distribute fliers of their party. Intimidation
may inhibit voters from voting freely for their political party
of choice. This may affect the fairness of the election.
- There is
bias in official media reports. The state-run media is biased
in favour of Zanu-PF and does not provide adequate coverage of
the other political parties. This is in contravention of Zimbabwe's
Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13) section 160J(a) which states that
all political parties and candidates are to be treated equitably
in the news media in regard to the extent, timing and prominence
of the coverage accorded to them. This biased media reporting
may unduly influence the voters thereby affecting the credibility
and fairness of the election process.
- There has
been a delay in accreditation of observers. Given the limited
number of observers, not all polling stations around the country
may be adequately monitored. This leaves margin for election abuses,
such as rigging, to occur.
upon the government of Zimbabwe to respect the constitutional right
of every eligible citizen to vote in the upcoming 2013 elections.
Media bodies in Zimbabwe should respect the Zimbabwe Electoral Act
(Chapter 2:13) and report on election campaigns and the electoral
process without fear or favour, and free of all bias.
upon the government of Zimbabwe to stop all forms of intimidation
and unlawful arrest of citizens participating in opposition campaigns.
The Constitution of Zimbabwe guarantees the rights to association
and assembly. These rights need to be protected and respected during
this election period.
urges the observers to be diligent in their monitoring to ensure
that the 2013 harmonised elections are indeed free, fair and credible.
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