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Election Support Network
March 16, 2013
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referendum on the 16th of March 2013. The Referendum came as
a consequence of Article 6 of the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) which mandated parties in the inclusive
government to facilitate the writing of a citizen driven constitution.
The political parties in the inclusive government were namely Zanu-PF,
MDC-T and MDC.
the entire process that led to the drafting of the new constitution.
It was clear that the parties in the inclusive government had problems
starting the process as it was delayed by over 12 months. Once the
process started the parties had difficulty agreeing on the issues
that needed to be key in the constitution hence the continuous haggling
and stops starts that characterized the writing of the new constitution.
After much anxiety about whether Zimbabwe would have a new constitution,
the Select Committee published a draft which was to be put to referendum.
The draft was not without problems as for a while there was confusion
about which was the correct Parliamentary Select Committee draft
given the many drafts that had been “leaked.” This was
the environment that characterized the writing of the new constitution.
During the run-up
to the Referendum there was a disturbing pattern of intimidation
against civic organizations involved in citizen election observation.
These incidents were condemned by ZESN and other CSOs particularly
given the timing as they painted and confirmed that the political
environment prevailing in the run-up to the referendum was unfavourable.
In order to
observe the process, ZESN had three levels of observers deployed
on Election Day. These included 210 polling station observers were
deployed in the country’s 210 constituencies. These observers
also observed collating at the constituency level. In addition were
118 supervisors who were mobile whose main role was to support the
polling station observers. The last level of observers were polling
station observers who utilized a checklist which guided how they
day was generally peaceful with a significant portion of Zimbabwe
going out to vote. ZESN observers reported compliance on many levels
including ballot papers stamped with the ZEC seal being issued and
voters’ fingers marked with indelible ink. Observers at polling
stations reported that voters without a proper ID identifying their
citizenship were not permitted to vote. Campaigning within 100 metres
of polling stations was not permitted and there were no incidents
of violence or intimidation or attempts to disrupt the process.
In addition, the processing of voters was efficient which reduced
waiting time for most voters. However, ZESN received some reports
of unauthorized persons inside the polling station as well problems
with assisted voters being unable to select the person who would
assist them to vote.
The report is
an analysis of the conduct of the Constitutional Referendum which
the Zimbabwe Election Support Network observed. The report makes
an analysis of events building up to the Constitutional Referendum
and the referendum on the 16th of March 2013. These events include
the untimely resignation of the then Zimbabwe Election Commission
(ZEC) Chairperson Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe.
The report details
the observation methodology utilized by the network and analysis
of the Referendum Day processes including arrival, set-up of polling
stations, voting, counting and results. From the referendum, ZESN
learnt a number of lessons and proffers the following recommendation:
Visit the ZESN
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