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This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles

  • "Miracle Votes" - An analysis of the March 2013 Referendum
    Election Resource Centre
    March 26, 2013

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    Introduction and Background

    On the 16th of March 2013, Zimbabweans went to the polls to either endorse or reject a draft constitution which had been a product of a protracted process that is as almost old as the inclusive government. When the Global Political Agreement was consummated in 2009, the players to the GPA agreed on a raft of measures and signposts that would facilitate the creation of enabling conditions for the holding of free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.

    Hence Zimbabweans undertook the constitutional making process partly to fulfill the provisions of the GPA and to afford Zimbabweans the opportunity to contribute towards the making of democratic indigenous constitution. It was also envisaged that a new constitution would provide Zimbabweans with an opportunity to transcend the past of violence, authoritarianism, impunity and arbitrary rule.

    Resultantly one of the major benchmarks in the GPA, as guaranteed by the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), was the successful completion of the constitution making process, whose end-product would be a new constitution for Zimbabwe.

    On the 16th of March, Zimbabweans voted overwhelmingly for the adoption of the new constitution, this after concerted effort by all the parties in the GNU who canvassed a yes vote. At the end of the day, 3 079 966 Zimbabweans endorsed the draft constitution, whilst 179 489 rejected the draft and 56 627 spoilt the ballots.
    A glance at the results shows that whilst there had been reports of voter apathy, comparatively; Zimbabweans came out in their large numbers to cast their votes. The March 16 poll recorded the biggest voter turnout since 1980. Interestingly, there has been a marked increase in each province for this referendum in comparison with the March 2008 elections.

    This report is an attempt to interrogate and analyse the voter behavior that influenced the relatively ‘high voter turnout’ in this poll. What could have driven Zimbabweans to come out and vote in such unprecedented large numbers, what is the comparative analysis? Could the numbers have been tampered with? And what does this mean for the coming crucial elections in Zimbabwe?

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