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Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s statement to the press
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
March 12, 2013
It is now common
knowledge that the Principals to the Inclusive
Government meet every Monday and whenever circumstances dictate
that we should meet, just as we have met today after Cabinet even
though we had met only yesterday.
In the public interest
and as the spokesperson for the Principals, I want to take this
opportunity to apprise you of some of the agreements we have recently
The Principals agreed
that Justice Makarau will assume her position as the substantive
Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
The Principals agreed
that it would be improper to have a temporary Chairperson for such
a key institution as ZEC and that constitutionally, a substantive
chairperson enjoys security of tenure which an acting chairperson
does not have.
tenure of the Chairperson and Commissioners is critical to the independence
of ZEC. The principals expect Justice Makarau to be sworn in soon
after the referendum subject to the completion of the procedural
requirements under the Constitution.
Chairing ZEC is a mammoth responsibility which has everything to
do with the credibility of the next election. As such, any chairperson
to this very important Commission can only be substantive.
Observers and Accreditation Committee
have also agreed that the Observers Accreditation Committee (OAC)
which is responsible for the accreditation
of referendum and election observers must be re-configured so
that there is equitable political representation to ensure the political
ground is fair and level for all contestants.
the legal formula under the Electoral
Act for the composition of the OAC is such that it gives an
unfair advantage to one political party because the majority of
the nominees are made by Ministers from that political party. This
gives that party an unfair advantage over other contestants in the
must be consistent with the spirit of the GPA
which promotes equitable representation but in addition it must
be expanded to include other political and civil society actors
so that it is properly representative and inclusive.
society participation as observers
The Principals agreed
that ZEC must not prohibit local civil society organisations and
NGOs from accreditation on the basis that they are facing investigations,
charges or prosecution by the police because that would be contrary
to the Bill of Rights and the cardinal rule of natural justice that
every person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The Principals want this
process to be as transparent as possible and no local persons must
be banned from accreditation on this basis.
Contrary to recent public
statements by some Government officials, there is no agreed government
policy on the banning of international observers from accreditation
to observe the referendum and elections in Zimbabwe.
While they can express their own opinions, no single party is entitled
to make public pronouncements of government policy without the agreement
of the other parties in the Inclusive Government.
One party’s policies
on the issue of international observers do not represent government
Currently, there is no
agreement on this issue and discussions between the Principals are
still taking place. An announcement on the issue of international
observers will be made at the appropriate time when consensus has
While acknowledging the
tremendous efforts being made towards raising financial resources
to fund the referendum and the elections, the Principals appreciate
that domestic resources will not be enough and it is necessary to
seek external support through the UNDP.
After further discussions
on the UNDP’s Terms of Reference, the Ministers of Finance
and Justice have been mandated to communicate with the UNDP with
a view to kick-starting the process. We therefore expect a Needs
Assessment Mission to visit the country soon after the referendum
because time is of the essence.
The timing of
elections is not a unilateral decision but will be agreed between
the Principals at the appropriate time. At present, the Principals
are ensuring the environment is conducive to the holding of a free,
credible and legitimate election.
The political and legal processes, including the alignment of laws
to the new Constitution, will determine the actual date for the
conduct of the Police
The Principals have agreed
that the police should conduct themselves in a manner that is fair,
impartial and apolitical.
To this end, the Principals
were today scheduled to meet with the Commissioner-General of Police
and his Co-Ministers of Affairs to give direction on their expected
conduct before, during and after the election. The police conduct
will definitely have an overarching bearing on the credibility of
I thank you
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