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New Constitution-making process - Index of articles
Zimbabwe Briefing - Issue 105
in Zimbabwe Coalition
March 21, 2013
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makes recommendations for Zim elections
African Development Community (SADC)’s Electoral Observer
Mission (SEOM) on Sunday evening March 17, 2013, a day after voting
had closed in the Zimbabwe constitutional
referendum made recommendations for the forthcoming elections
in the capital Harare. SADC Observer Mission Head Hon. Bernard K.
Membe, the Tanzanian Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
Minister, addressed the post-referendum preliminary assessment briefing.
He addressed on behalf of Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics,
Defence and Security Cooperation, Tanzanian President Jakaya M.
The event was
attended by SADC Executive Secretary Dr. Tomaz Sa-lomao, Foreign
Affairs Minister Dr. Samuel Mumbengegwi, ZEC Chairperson Justice
Rita Mukarau, COPAC Co-Vice Chairperson Hon. Jessie Majome, Ministers
in the Inclusive
Government, members of the Civil Society and international dignitaries
bloc’s electoral observer noted some positives in the referendum
voting. However the Observer Mission made significant recommendations,
which they shared with Zimbabweans ahead of the forthcoming elections.
“Encourage the establishment of a mechanism through which
funds for elections could be timely availed; en-courage the update
of the voters’ roll in time for elections; Encourage continuous
voter education,” the Observer Mission said.
revealed in its preliminary assessment of the referendum the concerns
raised by various stakeholders, who include political parties and
civil society, including the failure by the authorities to timeously
provide resources to Zimbabwe Electoral Com-mission (ZEC).
On the cases
of violence witnessed during the Referendum, the Mission said:
noted reports of isolated cases of intimidation and harassment in
some areas and in particular in Mbare, Harare. The SEOM condemn
these acts of violence and pledge to law enforcement agents to objectively
deal with these matters as they arise.” Further concerns raised
were to do with insufficient copies of the draft as well as time
to read them, and inaccessibility of some polling stations. The
Mission noted that, although there had been some concerns, they
did not soil the credibility of the referendum.
is pleased to share its findings and observations with the people
of Zimbabwe and all relevant stakeholders. In general, the Mission
observed that the polling process was conducted in a peaceful, transparent
and smooth manner.
has come to the conclusion that although some of the concerns raised
are pertinent, they are, nevertheless, not of such magnitude as
to affect the credibility of the overall Referendum. Membe concluded
by saying the referendum holding “is a major step in the implementation
of the GPA and
I therefore would like to take this opportunity to encourage the
political leader-ship and all the people of Zimbabwe to uphold peace
and stability as we are waiting for the white smoke.”
of the white smoke is traditionally used to announce that a new
Roman Catholic Pope has been successfully chosen in the Vatican,
as happened recently when the new Pope Francis I replaced Benedict
VI. The Tanzanian Foreign Minister could have used it to mean the
emergence of a winner after the forthcoming harmonized elections
later in the year. Though important in its own right, many people
had taken the referendum as a test run for the coming elections.
The Crisis Coalition Spokesperson and Bulawayo
Agenda Director Thabani Nyoni evaluated that sentiment. “It
was a test run to the elections to some extent. It brought out important
issues like ZEC’s preparedness.
read too much into the political parties agreeing because they agreed
to the draft constitution for different reasons. That is why you
find political parties which were all campaigning for a Yes vote
fighting in such areas as Mbare and over where to popularize the
however difficult to conclude whether it is a true indicator because
the voter’s roll was not being used and the process was therefore
more accessible and faster in terms of voting. The elections are
likely to be more hotly contested, the space closed and violence
will be prominent judging by the referendum.”
Mission had deployed 12 teams comprising of 78 observers, drawn
from regional Members of Parliament and civil society across the
country during the referendum, who had arrived in Zimbabwe, six
days before voting, on March 10.
Visit the Crisis
in Zimbabwe fact
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