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This article participates on the following special index pages:
New Constitution-making process - Index of articles
by The Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security
Cooperation and Head of The SEOM to Zimbabwe Referendum
Hon. Bernard Kamillius Membe, SADC
March 10, 2013
SECRETARY OF SADC, DR TOMAZ SALOMAO;
HEADS OF MISSIONS ACCREDITED TO THE REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE AND OTHER
MEMBERS OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS;
THE SELECT COMMITTEE
OF PARLIAMENT ON THE NEW CONSTITUTION;
MISSIONS TO THE REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE;
OF THE MEDIA; AND
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
Following the announcement and subsequent invitation to SADC for
participation in the 16 March 2013 Referendum, I wish to formally
announce the arrival of the SADC Electoral Observer Mission (SEOM)
to the Zimbabwe Referendum scheduled for 16 March 2013.
SADC in its
endeavor for regional integration is the determination to strengthen
and consolidate our relatively young democracies in our Member States
into practical and tangible benefits for our citizens in the region.
process is one such clear form that provides for the participation
of our citizens governance and most importantly, in the expressing
their views in the constitution ultimately ensuring the sustainable
constitution that will remain unshakable.
The launch ceremony
symbolizes the formal engagement of the Mission to the referendum
process in Zimbabwe; SADC through its various structures and framework
has been constantly in touch with the political stakeholders in
Zimbabwe. The SADC Missions represented in Zimbabwe are the region's
forerunners in this endeavour and have since been engaged with issues
relating to the Constitutional Referendum and the electoral process
SADC as a regional
block is pleased to note that the Global
Political Agreement a (GPA) signed by the Political stakeholders
in this country continue to make considerable strides to the fulfillment
of the objectives as set.
referendum scheduled for the 16 March 2013 clearly demonstrates
movement from signed declarations into tangible results to the benefit
of the Zimbabwean citizens. Furthermore, the referendum will ensure
the inclusion of the political stakeholders indicating a major milestone
towards the realisation of a stable political environment.
It is heartening
to note that Global Political Agreement principals have amicably
resolved the outstanding issues on the new draft constitution, thus
clearing the path for the referendum that we anticipate today.
of the referendum Exercise by the SEOM is intended to ensure the
credibility and just referendum process that will ensure that the
ordinary citizens especially, cast their opinion on the Constitution
in an environment that will ensure a fair vote. The Constitution
being a tool for sustainable governance and development of the country
will require that every view is taken on board for an inclusive
society in all spheres.
exercise will involve the intensive collection of information related
to the referendum process. As a regional observer team, we are guided
by our various instruments which include, the Treaty, the Protocol
on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, as well the SADC
Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections and most
importantly the legislation obtaining in Zimbabwe. The instruments
mentioned not only provide guide for shared political values among
others but also is a commitment by our Member States to ensure that
the citizens are granted an honest and rigorous opinion making process.
As you may recall,
the SEOM was last engaged in the electoral observation exercise
in 2008 and the mission in the same light undertake to a rigorous
and systematic assessment of the electoral process by way of observation
and ensure the minimum thresholds and adherence to the SADC Principles
and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections which remain our benchmark.
The following among others include the checklist and scope of the
operation of the SEOM:
and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of the citizens;
2. Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections;
3. Non-discrimination in the voters' registration;
4. Existence of updated and accessible voters roll;
5. Timeous announcement of the election date;
6. Where applicable, funding of political parties must be transparent
and based on agreed threshold in accordance with the laws of the
7. Polling Stations should be in neutral places;
8. Counting of the votes at polling stations;
9. Establishment of the mechanism for assisting the planning and
deployment of electoral observation missions; and
At this juncture
i wish to acknowledge the honour and privilege accorded to the SEOM
by the people of Zimbabwe in allowing and trusting the engagement
of the SEOM in this referendum process. I wish to state at this
point that the SEOM will commit to the work as required by the people
of Zimbabwe and will ensure the fulfillment of the expected effect
as guided by the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic
ladies and Gentlemen, please allow me to speak to encourage all
the Zimbabwean citizens to turn out for the Referendum on the 16
March 2013 and add their voice to the making of the Constitution
of this land.
The SEOM will
also appeal to all the stakeholders to this referendum to exercise
tolerance and restraint.
The SEOM will
have its observers deployed across the ten (10) provinces in Zimbabwe.
The Observer teams deployed will in turn channel the information
for a thorough processing and analysis that will include verification
of facts amongst the various stakeholders as well as the ordinary
observers. In addition to the SADC observers, the Mission is mindful
of the local as well as other observer missions that are engaged
with the electoral process and as such, the SEOM will as a matter
of principle seek to collaborate efforts with the other missions.
The Office of
the SADC Electoral Observer Mission to the Zimbabwe Referendum will
engage and call on the stakeholders for consultative purposes.
With these remarks,
I wish to announce on behalf of the Chairperson of the Organ on
Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation and President of the
United Republic of Tanzania, His Excellency Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete
that the SADC Electoral Observer Mission of the 16 March 2013 Referendum
in the Republic of Zimbabwe, officially launched.
Thank you for
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