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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles


  • No elections without completion of reforms: Update on PM Tsvangirai's interface with CSOs
    Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
    June 13, 2013

    The Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Right Honorable Morgan. Richard Tsvangirai met with Leaders and Representatives of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) yesterday afternoon under the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition convened CSOs-Government and Policy Makers Interface platform in Harare. Yesterday's interface was aimed at having the PM address several questions most CSOs had around:

    • Implications of the Constitutional Court Judgement compelling elections be held by 31 July 2013,
    • The status and likely outcome from the pending SADC Extra-Ordinary Summit on Zimbabwe now confirmed for Saturday the 13th of June in Maputo,
    • The ongoing electoral preparation process including mandatory voter registration and attendant processes, including realignment of electoral laws and other laws like AIPPA and POSA with the new constitution, among others,
    • The status of the Broad Reform Agenda, and,
    • Elections: timing and the fulfillment of benchmarks towards a free, fair and credible election.

    The PM gave his remarks in response to the above questions, also responded to questions from the participants under the question and answer segment and below are some highlights worth noting, representing his position both as one of the Principals to the GPA and GNU and as president of the MDC-T:

    • ConCourt Judgement: "The issue is not about the Date of Elections but the Process leading to not only a free, fair and credible election but also one that has legitimacy",
    • Reforms (SSR): "The new Constitution has put forward a number of Reforms including Security Sector Reforms: We now need a Code of Conduct for our security services to effect these reforms",
    • Realignment of Laws to the new Constitution: "Laws must be aligned to the constitution before the general elections to address all aspects including the adoption and implementation of the "Hybrid" electoral system introduced by the new constitution",
    • Process and Timing of Elections: "Mandatory periods as stipulated by the constitution which include the 30 day intensive voter registration process, 14 days inspection of the voters role and 30 days for electioneering must be adhered to",
    • Crossing the timing hurdle: If the period between now and the 31st of July is inadequate, the hurdle can be crossed through "doing what we (principals) did with by-elections" [President Mugabe went to the High Court to seek an extension and this was granted],
    • In fulfillment of the Constitutional Court judgement, he "will use the court judgement to persuade Mugabe to observe the constitution [in its totality] and will not agree with setting a date that does not take conform with the given legal provisions on period between electoral preparation stages (from voter registration to polling)",
    • On the SADC Summit: The SADC Summit is now pencilled for Saturday 15 July and the GPA Facilitator, President Jacob Zuma is expected give his report and the political parties to the GPA will all give their submissions and the expectation is a reaffirmation of the Roadmap to a free and fair election.
    • As leaders of 5 political parties (Two MDC formations led by PM Tsvangirai and Prof Ncube, Mavambo-Kusile Dawn, Zapu and Zanu Ndonga) "we (they) have already written to SADC stating that critical reforms must be implemented before elections",
    • On an election Alliance of the parties above: "Yes is it possible as long as it is underpinned by Issues we all believe in e.g. insistence on fulfillment of democratic reforms before elections...the pact must however not be an elite pact, it must address people's aspirations and carry the people along"
    • On Elections: "We want a free, fair, credible and legitimate election and the conditions must be created that guarantee that"
    • On specific Amendments agreed by Cabinet: (paraphrased with same meaning): the Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (currently Justice Rita Makarau), will now announce the election results and not an elections officer [...my emphasis--motivation here could be that election officers, some of whom are linked to the security service, especially the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO), may have been manipulated in the past to announce "doctored" results]. Voters will now not be compelled to show stamp to election officers after putting their "X" [--This was used in the past, especially in rural areas to intimidate voters]

    The Prime Minister emphasized the importance of CSOs in conducting voter education and committed to ensuring that his office will push for ZEC and responsible authorities to accredit CSOs wishing to conduct voter education and also allow them to do their work freely. He said that his party will adhere to the 11/11/11 commitment where all significant political parties at that time committed to a violence free environment, particularly politically motivated violence. He said his party was committed to ensuring that women participation in national processes, including processes that will see them assuming leadership positions in political parties and society are guaranteed wherever possible.

    The CSOs position on the matters above, most of which resonate with the position given by the PM are articulated in the petition circulated for sign-on ahead of the SADC extra ordinary summit. CSO leaders took the opportunity to hand over four copies of the petition for the three Principals and a copy to be handed over to SADC at the summit. A CSO delegation of 18 representatives drawn from various sectors including democracy, governance and elections, labour, women's rights, youths and students' rights, policy research, among others, was in Maputo between 5-9 June 2013 on an advocacy mission targeting people to people solidarity with fellow non-state-actors as well as diplomatic engagements targeting levers of power in Maputo [Mozambique currently holds the SADC Chairperson-ship to be handed over to Malawi at the Ordinary SADC Summit in August this year).

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