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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Zimbabwe Briefing - Issue 112
    Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (SA Regional Office)
    June 13, 2013

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    Zimbabwean Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) representatives were in Maputo from the 5th to the 9th of June 2013 on a regional lobby and advocacy mission to encourage Mozambique, which is due to host a special SADC Summit on Zimbabwe’s elections, to emphasize on reforms before the next elections. The delegation highlighted challenges that can be posed by the deadline on election dates in line with the recent constitutional court ruling compelling President Mugabe to proclaim a date for the general elections, which the court ordered, must be held before 31 July 2013. The delegation met with leaders of Mozambican religious groups who included representatives of Christians and Moslems, who had just had their own national conference on combating malaria. Separately, the delegation also met with church leaders mainly represented by the Christian Council of Mozambique.

    Church leaders in Maputo affirmed their commitment to supporting a peaceful election in Zimbabwe. “The church has a moral obligation to maintain peace in society and the obligation does not end in church only,” said Bishop Denis Matsola [former Secretary General of Christian Council of Mozambique]. The Zimbabwean delegation team addressed a conference of Mozambican Bishops and Clerics from different religions in the country. Dzimbabwe Chimbga from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights who was part of the Zimbabwe delegation explained the reason for the Zimbabwe civics’ visit in Maputo.

    “We urge SADC to impress upon governing authorities in Zimbabwe to; create a conducive environment by allowing civil society organizations to carry out their lawful activities without harassment, raids, restrictions and unlawful arrests and prosecutions, facilitate timely and adequate Voter and Civic education, which must be freely conducted within the confines of the Declaration of Rights in the new constitution and the electoral law, by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). Civil Society and Political Parties, and also SADC insists on the commitment of government, political parties and Election officials, to conducting a well publicised, transparent and accessible Voter registration process, that allows every Zimbabwean not on the voters roll to register without unnecessary impediments and bottle-necks,” said Mr Chimbga.

    The Mozambican clerics were impressed by the commitment and passion that the mostly young and middle-aged Zimbabweans who were part of the delegation have about their country. The Anglican Bishop of Maputo, Rt. Rev. Denis Sengulane, famously known for being part of the peace brokers facilitation between RENAMO and FRELIMO that ended the civil war in the country encouraged the Zimbabwe delegation not lose hope as things will certainly improve for the better sooner rather than later. Bishop Sengulane, who in 2010 was appointed to Mozambique’s Council of State to serve as non-partisan advisor to President Guebuza encouraged the Zimbabwean civil society representatives to be resilient in their work and struggles. He emphasized on the importance of unity and cohesion wherever possible among non-state actors. Bishop Sengulane narrated to the delegation how his counterparts, the Anglican in Zimbabwe had been affected by political influence over the past five or so years. “If God heard our prayer to end war in Mozambique, he will hear our prayer for Zimbabwe to have free, fair and peaceful elections” echoed the Bishop.

    Speaking at a dinner with Mozambique church leaders based in Maputo, Bishop Matsola of Methodist Church informed the Zimbabwe delegation that Mozambique is currently preparing for an election scheduled and known to be taking place in November 2013. He expressed shock over the fact that Zimbabwe is to have elections by 31 July yet a lot of preparation is still to be done. The Bishops agreed with the Zimbabwe delegation that observing elections should not be seen as observing the Election Day only. Observers should be in the country at least two weeks before the election date. “The church in Mozambique is willing to observe the Zimbabwe election and it will not be the first time to do so, in 2008 March harmonized election our accreditation was only approved the night before election date” said Bishop Matsola.

    The church in Mozambique asked the delegation to keep engaging them on developments in Zimbabwe. Pastor Moousa from Tete province [which borders with Zimbabwe] told the delegation that the Zimbabwean problem is not for Zimbabwe only but for the region as a whole. He narrated how during civil war in Mozambique the region was affected and he further noted that the end of the civil war set precedence that in SADC such things are intolerable. If Zimbabwe is allowed to have a sham election, this can set a bad precedence for the region given that most of the countries in SADC are going to have elections before 2015, said Pastor Moousa. The regional advocacy mission included representatives from the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA), the Media Alliance Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe National Students Union, the Election Resource Centre, and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) as well as representatives from Zimbabwean media houses. The delegation met various stakeholders including the church, civil society and government representatives and impressed upon them the need to ensure that the Global Political Agreement is fully implemented.

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