GUIDELINES AND PRINCIPLES
participation of the citizens in the political process
voter registration exercise which closed on the 9th of July
2013 left thousands of prospective first-time voters unregistered
hence disenfranchising them.
was significant discrimination between rural and urban voters
– with more registration centres having been deployed
in rural areas than in urban areas. ZESN’s
of the voters roll identified a significant disparity with
registration in urban wards at 67.94% and those in rural
wards at 99.97%
ZEC preliminary figures indicate that 304 890 voters were
turned away even if they had voted in the wards previously,
which is significantly high
rural areas, especially in the Mashonaland and Midlands
provinces traditional leaders aligned to ZANU PF and military
personnel with a symbiotic relationship with ZANU PF coerced
people to associate with ZANU PF and to disassociate with
opposition parties and civil society organisations.
urban areas, people were forced to associate with ZANU PF
or lose their informal businesses which form the basis of
- A lot
of voters in the rural areas were forced to declare illiteracy
and were assisted to vote by designated persons aligned
to ZANU PF. ZEC preliminary figures indicate that 206 901
voters were assisted to vote which is unusually high given
that Zimbabwe’s literacy rate is more than 90%.
there were fewer cases of overt violence as compared to
2008, members of opposition parties felt insecure due to
coordinated threats of violence by ZANU PF party supporters
based on past experiences.
December 2012, there was systematic arrest and harassment
of civil society leaders who embarked on voter registration
and voter mobilisation. For example, National
Youth Development Trust[NYDT], ZIMRIGHTS,
for Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ), Community
Tolerance, Reconciliation and Development Trust, Election
Resource Centre and Zimbabwe Election Support Network
was no freedom from fear of violence. ZANU PF supporters
threatened citizens with violence synonymous with the June
27 2008 election if they were going to vote for MDC.
example, Jabulani Sibanda the war veteran leader aligned
to ZANU PF travelled the length and breadth of the country
threatening to roast the livers of opposition supporters
if they were to vote for MDC.
on polling day, in Muzarabani North Ward 27 for example,
at Machaya Primary School polling station, Godfrey Magaya
of ZANU PF was intimidating voters in the queue. He was
telling people that they will be beaten up if ZANU-PF loses
was replicated in various polling stations in the rural
areas and ZEC took no action
intervals for elections as provided for by the respective National
opportunity for all political parties to access the state media
Print and electronic state owned media was partisan and
openly supported ZANU PF and its Presidential candidate.
the election month of July 2013, the state owned Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) carried 114 stories on party
campaign activities, 79 (69%) were on ZANU-PF. Twenty-six
(23%) were on Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s MDC party.
Four (4%) were on the other MDC formation led by Industry
Minister Welshman Ncube. Three (3%) were on ZAPU, while
the remaining two was on the Zimbabwe Development Party,
led by aspiring presidential candidate, Kisinoti Mukwazhe.
out of 10 of President Mugabe’s political rallies
were covered live on ZBC TV whilst none of the 60 campaign
rallies held by former Prime Minister Tsvangirai and other
opposition parties was broadcast live.
opportunity to exercise the right to vote and be voted for;
who were refused the chance to register and those who were
intimidated were disenfranchised.
who were turned away from polling stations, even when they
had voted in those wards previously were disenfranchised
in the Diaspora were barred from exercising their right
provinces were allocated more polling stations compared
to others, despite the latter having higher population densities,
e.g. Harare province with an estimated 1.2 million voters
(the highest in all of the provinces) had 830 polling stations
while Manicaland province, with an estimated voter population
of only 807,300 was allocated 1297 polling stations. Also
the Midlands province was allocated 1341 polling stations
with an estimated voting population of a little over 762,000.
of the Judiciary and impartiality of the electoral institutions
involvement of the army and intelligence in the ZEC secretariat
is at the core of the credibility of the elections. ZEC
retained members of the army and intelligence who were of
the secretariat that rigged the March
29 2008 Presidential election. For example, Major Utoile
Silaigwana is a soldier who served in the operations division
of ZEC; the ZEC public relations officer Shupikai Mashereni,
is a member of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. The Chief Elections
Officer, Lovemore Sekeremayi once worked in President Mugabe’s
office. ZANU PF rejected spirited efforts by the MDC to
ensure that the electoral institutions are staffed by well-trained
personnel who are not only independent but seen to be impartial.
of professionalism and independence has forced two of ZEC’s
Commissioners to resign in the aftermath of the election.
has failed the transparency test, failing to provide the
basic information such as consolidated results and voter
material as requested of them and required by law.
electoral body did not appear to be in control of the electoral
is therefore not an independent or accountable body
is not independent from the executive, and politically,
from ZANU PF. Since 2010, the President has appointed or
elevated 23 judges to the High Court, Supreme Court and
the new Constitutional Court without consulting former Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, contrary to the requirements
of the GPA and the Constitution.
civil society does not view the judiciary as independent
of ZANU PF.
took the greater space in conducting voter education although
there was clearly insufficient time for effective delivery
given the short period between proclamation and the election
Zimbabwe government applied pressure on ZEC to disqualify
some civil society organizations to conduct voter education
such as the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA)
and Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition.
civil society was severely restricted from carrying out
voter education. Consequently, the voter registration exercise
was marred by limited voter education
and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of the citizens;
environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
the environment was seemingly peaceful, this was a façade
for a litany of problems that affected the electoral atmosphere.
For example, ZANU PF leaders and traditional leaders exerted
undue influence on voters barring them from exercising their
free will. The threat of violence, based on previous experiences
remained a key problem. The security services chiefs did
not retract their previous threatening statements to the
also entails freedom from fear of violence
in the voters’ registration;
the new Constitution
restored the rights of citizens who had been previously
categorised as aliens, the handling of the voter registration
process restricted their ability to register. Consequently,
thousands of former aliens were left disenfranchised.
was also significant discrimination between rural and urban
voters – with more registration centres having been
deployed in rural areas than in urban areas.
voter registration and inspection exercise was supposed
to be ward-based but it became district-based due to lack
of funds according to the Registrar General. This made it
difficult for people to register to vote.
of updated and accessible voters roll;
20 and 21 of the Zimbabwe Electoral
Act requires the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)
to provide a copy of the voters roll within 'a reasonable'
period of time.
the printed copies of the voters’ roll (two truckloads
of paper) were only made available at 5pm on the voting
day, which made inspection and verification by voters impossible
and opened the system to manipulation.
was systematic duplication and omission of voter names on
the voters’ roll
printed 8.7 million ballot papers translating to 35% above
the number of registered voters on the voters’ roll.
This was significantly higher than international best practice
(5 -10%) and increased the chances of rigging
the post-election period, ZEC has failed to convincingly
account for the unused ballot papers.
ballot booklets used on polling day had missing ballot papers
and were not serially identified.
of people were allowed to vote more than once using voter
registration slips which were not even authentic.
absence of an up-to-date voters’ roll opened an opportunity
for manipulation through voter registration slips
announcement of the election date;
was very limited time between the official announcement
and the election date. Consequently, the processes were
rushed, resulting in a chaotic Special Voting system even
by ZEC’s own admission. Although SADC recommended
an extension of time for the election date, this was strongly
resisted by ZANU PF with the concurrence of the courts.
The lack of time showed in ZEC’s lack of preparedness
in conducting a free and fair election
Stations should be in neutral places;
polling stations were located in resettlement farms that
are known to be hostile to opposition supporters as they
depict total institutions where ZANU PF with the help of
the state is in constant surveillance of the citizens.
of the votes at polling stations;
In the majority of cases, counting was done at polling stations
except for a few cases in Matabeleland North
SADC Election Observation Missions should be deployed at least
two weeks before the voting day.
applicable in the recent election.