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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Zimbabwe elections: deeply flawed says ACTSA
    Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA)

    August 05, 2013

    ACTSA welcomes the relatively peaceful conduct of the general elections held in Zimbabwe on 31 July 2013. However, a peaceful election does not make an election free and fair or credible and the election process appears to be deeply flawed.

    Based on the (preliminary) reports by the African Union (AU) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) observer missions, as well as the findings by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) and others, ACTSA believes it is not possible to conclude the elections were free, fair, credible and reflected the will of the people.

    Zimbabwe civil society organisations have pointed to at least eight major weaknesses in the election process:

    1. Lack of integrity of the voters’ roll
    2. Lack of timely availability of the voters’ roll
    3. Suspiciously high number of voters turned away
    4. Suspiciously high number of assisted voters
    5. Bussing in of people from outside constituencies
    6. Contested election timing and rules
    7. Failure to implement agreed reforms which SADC had been insisting were necessary prior to the elections
    8. Systematic and intentional disenfranchisement of potential and registered voters.

    It seems the official observer missions from the AU and SADC did not receive and have not independently verified the accuracy of the voters’ roll. If this is not done it is difficult to see how any election observer mission can comment on the credibility of the election.

    The AU and SADC election observer missions whilst raising some concerns seem to have affectively endorsed the process. They and South Africa (which has stated that observer missions have stated the result reflects the will of the people, although neither the AU nor SADC official election observer missions have stated this in their preliminary reports), are effectively urging the Zimbabwean people to accept the election outcome even if the process has been deeply flawed and manipulated.

    ACTSA calls for human rights to be respected, for the right to peaceful protest to be upheld, for freedom of expression and organisation and for support for a vibrant and independent civil society as key to contributing to the building of democracy and upholding human rights. We urge the UK and EU to put the interests of the Zimbabwean people and support for rights, justice and sustainable development above any commercial interests, and to consult not only with political parties there but with civil society organisations. ACTSA will be consulting with our partners in Zimbabwe and across southern Africa.

    Tony Dykes, Director of ACTSA said, “The people of Zimbabwe have been enduring a political, economic and humanitarian crisis for far too long. It was hoped that an election, which was not only peaceful but allowed all Zimbabweans to exercise their democratic rights, would be part of the process for rebuilding Zimbabwe. However, a deeply flawed election is likely to mean the crisis of rights, justice and poverty continues. We will maintain our work in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe in their struggle for democracy, rights, justice and the development of Zimbabwe so that its considerable resources and potential are used to eradicate poverty and benefit all Zimbabweans.”

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