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  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles

  • Statement on the March 16 Zimbabwean Constitutional Referendum
    US Embassy
    March 18, 2013

    The U.S. Embassy congratulates the people and government of Zimbabwe for holding a peaceful, credible constitutional referendum on March 16. This historic step forward in the nation’s development of democracy and rule of law is part of an important process started in 1980 to establish freedom for all Zimbabwean citizens.

    On March 16, the U.S. Embassy fielded five observation teams, which were fully accredited by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. The teams observed over 40 polling stations in different parts of the country. The U.S. diplomatic observers, including Ambassador Bruce Wharton, were welcomed by polling station officials in both rural and urban areas, and reported no violence or other significant problems.

    We note our concern over reports that voters in some area were instructed to vote at specific stations, or instructed to report to political party operatives after voting. We also note with regret that accreditation of observers was limited, but believe that the overall conduct of this referendum has helped to gain the confidence of the Zimbabwean people, neighboring countries, and the international community. Respect for the rule of law and apolitical policing, as seen on March 16, are important for establishing conducive conditions for credible and non-violent Zimbabwean elections later this year.

    Independent observers can play a positive role in ensuring Zimbabweans are able to campaign and vote in a free and fair environment. We urge the government of Zimbabwe to welcome non-governmental groups with a track record of expertise to observe freely and independently as Zimbabweans prepare to vote later this year.

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