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Zimbabwe Election Watch Issue No. 10
November 06, 2007

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Executive Summary

At this point it is not clear whether the Zimbabwean joint elections - presidential, parliamentary, senate and municipal - will be postponed to June 2008, a move which would allow more time for preparations and for the lack of crucial financial resources to be resolved. The elections are currently scheduled to take place during March. David Coltart, MDC (Mutambara) for Bulawayo South says that the country needs at least six months to put everything in place before calling an election.

The South African mediated negotiations between the ruling Zanu PF party and both factions of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have resumed. According to the Zimbabwe Independent (ZI), they are expected to discuss issues such as the de-militarisation of state institutions, the role of traditional chiefs in politics, use of state and donor food relief for political gain and foreign broadcasts to Zimbabwe.

So far, according to the ZI, the parties have agreed on a draft constitution, which has been circulated to their respective leaders, but have not reached an agreement on electoral laws, security legislation, media laws or the political climate. Delimitation of constituencies has not yet started and registration of voters is still continuing.

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition held a rural outreach programme which presented an overview of the governance crisis and perspectives on the 2008 elections, with close reference to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) initiative.

The resolutions made were:

1. No to elections without a new constitution
2. Development programmes should be isolated from politics
3. Zanu PF should be confronted through holding joint meetings with the opposition
4. People should be allowed to vote using their national identity cards
5. People of foreign origin should be allowed to vote as they are citizens
6. Delimitation of boundaries should be undertaken by an independent body
7. Village heads should not be used for partisan political programmes
8. People should be engaged in intensive voter education
9. Election officers should not be politically biased
10. Need for independent media structures and the reinstatement of the Daily News and the Tribune

In our media overview, Zim Online reported this week that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has turned down an opposition request for an all-party meeting to discuss voter registration and demarcation of voting constituencies.

The Registrar General's office has admitted that the outdated voters' roll - which requires major surgery - has not yet been printed due to inadequate funds.

The government has reduced the number of voter registration centres by over 60 percent amid reports of critical shortages of financial and human resources.

Civic groups report they are restricted by the country's electoral laws from conducting efficient voter education programmes.

Thousands of Zimbabwean-born people whose forefathers came from neighbouring SADC countries could fail to vote if their citizenship is not restored in time.

Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi has acknowledged that opposition supporters are being victimised and has undertaken to study an MDC dossier detailing 4 122 incidents of political violence and human rights abuses between January and June. Further examples, threats and incidences of human rights abuses, as well as the withholding of food aid from opposition supporters are included in this report.

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