THE NGO NETWORK ALLIANCE PROJECT - an online community for Zimbabwean activists  
 View archive by sector


Back to Index

This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles

  • ZEC consents to debarring ZimRights
    Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
    March 15, 2013

    The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) today consented to having its decision of barring the ZimRights from accrediting to observe the referendum set aside, paving the way for the local NGO to re-apply for accreditation.

    According to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) Senior Projects Lawyer, Tawanda Zhuwarara:

    “ZEC realized that they had made a gross error at law and where not opposed to the application we filed. ZEC made a consent order meaning that their decision to refuse to accredit ZimRights was set aside. What remains now is for ZimRights to reapply for accreditation and for ZEC to ensure that it follows the law. They knew they were in the wrong so we won that fight before it even begun ”

    ZEC had barred ZIMRIGHTS from accrediting to observe the referendum, scheduled for tomorrow, on the basis that the organization was “under criminal investigations”.

    This initial stance adopted by ZEC had raised the ire of the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) who earlier this week wrote a letter of protest to the Inclusive Government (IG) Principals President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Professor Welshman Ncube and Deputy Prime Minister Aurthur Mutambara.

    The letter dated March 11, 2013 stated:

    “We wish to place on record our collective outrage at the refusal by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to allow our fellow CSOs to accredit as domestic observers ahead of the constitutional referendum scheduled to take place on 16 March 2013.”

    The Principals, in turn, concurred with the view adopted by the Heads of Coalitions saying that no local organisation should be barred from observing the imminent constitutional referendum. In a letter written by Secretary to the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers Ian Makone to the Civil Society Heads of Coalitions and Networks dated March 12, 2013 and copied to ZEC Acting Chairperson Mrs Joyce Kazembe, Makone stated:

    “I am happy to inform you that at the meeting of the Principals on Monday, it was agreed that no local civic society organisation should be barred from observing and monitoring the referendum as this would be contrary to the Bill of Rights and the cardinal rule of natural justice that every person is innocent until proven guilty.”

    Despite these pronouncements, ZEC officials maintained at their final referendum meeting held on 13 March, 2013 that they would not allow ZIMRIGHTS to accredit as referendum observers which led to ZimRights filing an urgent High Court chamber application seeking to ask ZEC’s accreditation committee to reconvene and reconsider their application.

    Visit the Crisis in Zimbabwe fact sheet

    Please credit if you make use of material from this website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.