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  • Referendum results gazetted - Bill Watch 11/2013
    March 27, 2013

    Both Houses of Parliament are Adjourned until Tuesday 7th May

    Government Gazette Extraordinary 26th March

    The Referendum Results were gazetted yesterday in General Notice 201A/2013 signed by the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs:

    General Notice 201A of 2013.


    Publication of the Referendum Results

    IT is hereby notified, in terms of section 18(2) of the Referendums Regulations 2013, published in Statutory Instrument 26 of 2013, that the number of the votes as finally ascertained by the Chief Elections Officer and the results of the referendum that was conducted on 16th March, 2013, are as shown in the Schedule.


    Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs.

    The Schedule to the General Notice contains a series of tables listing, province by province, the results for each of the 210 constituencies into which the country is divided. Columns show constituency names, votes in favour of issue, votes against, rejected votes, and total votes cast.

    A National Summary then lists the National Total: Yes vote 3,079,966; No vote 179,489; Rejected votes 56,627; Total votes cast 3,316,082.

    The Schedule ends with an illustrative bar-chart and map depicting provincial voting patterns. [Full text of GN available from as PDF document, 884KB]

    President Applies to High Court to Waive By-Elections

    The President has filed an urgent application in the High Court seeking, in effect, to be excused from having to proclaim the dates for the three Matabeleland by-elections by the 31st March deadline fixed by Judge-President Chiweshe on 2nd October last year [see Court Watch 22/2012]. The application is due to be heard by the Judge-President on Thursday 28th March at 10 am; the venue is the High Court, Harare.

    In the main affidavit, made by the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs on behalf of the President, the explanation given for the application is that, following the YES vote in the Referendum, Parliament is expected to finish passing the new Constitution by 8th May and that the proclamation calling the harmonised elections will be gazetted immediately thereafter. The Minister states that “In terms of the Constitution the life of Parliament terminates on the 29th of June 2013, by which date harmonised elections must be held in the country”. This is the basis of the request for the court to allow the President to delay calling the by-elections on condition that he ensures the harmonised elections are held by 29th June.

    But, there is no law that says the elections must be held by 29th June. Section 58 of the present Constitution allows four months for elections to be held after Parliament comes to an end and the new Constitution does not lay down a period within which the first election must be held. Both the other GPA parties have pointed this out; they have also protested that satisfactory elections cannot possibly be held by 29th June.

    According to the Prime Minister’s spokesman, the President and Mr Tsvangirai agreed at their weekly meeting on Monday 25th March that an election date should be worked out by Ministers Chinamasa and Matinenga who will prepare timelines taking account of the legal requirements and necessary political reforms.

    Private Members Bills: Supreme Court Case

    Judgment is still awaited in the case in which Minister Ignatious Chombo asked the Supreme Court for a order stopping Parliament from proceeding with the Urban Councils Amendment Bill, a Private Member’s Bill. His argument was that Article 20 of the GPA, as incorporated in the current Constitution, prohibits the introduction of such Bills. Minister Chombo’s application was strongly opposed by the Bill’s proposer and seconder and Parliament’s presiding officers – the Speaker of the House of Assembly and the President of the Senate. It is been hoped that judgment would be handed down before the coming court vacation [6th April to 5th May], although judgments can be handed down even during the court vacation. It is needed before Parliament reconvenes in early May.

    Mutambara v Ncube: MDC leadership dispute

    Sitting in Bulawayo, the Supreme Court this week heard argument in Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara’s appeal against Justice Kamocha’s 2011 decision confirming Professor Welshman Ncube’s election as president of the MDC. Judgment was reserved. [See Bill Watch 56/2011 for background.]

    Update on SADC

    MDC-T Envoy Takes Political Violence Dossier to SADC leaders

    On 27th February Mr Tsvangirai’s envoy Jameson Timba left Harare to update SADC governments on MDC-T concerns: the issue of stalled reforms, political violence and intimidation and harassment of those perceived to be Zanu-PF critics. Speaking the day before, MDC-T Secretary-General and GPA negotiator Tendai Biti blamed ZANU-PF for blocking the implementation of agreed media and electoral reforms, saying that with political will the reforms could be accomplished speedily.

    Facilitation Team Visit – 5th March

    President Zuma’s facilitation team was in Harare on Tuesday 5th March for meetings with the co-chairs of the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee [JOMIC] and the GPA negotiators. The visit’s purpose was to receive updates on the security situation ahead of the Referendum, the state of preparedness for the Referendum and what would follow the announcement of the Referendum result. In remarks to a reporter after the meeting, ZANU-PF negotiator Patrick Chinamasa was said to have mentioned only that a Yes vote would require Parliament to pass the Bill for the new Constitution and a Bill to make consequential amendments to the Electoral Act; significantly, there seems to have been no reference to the other democratic reforms generally regarded as vital of the election is to be free and fair.

    Organ Troika Summit Meeting In SA – 9th March

    The Troika of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation met in Pretoria on Saturday 9th March. Present were the Organ chairperson, President Kikwete of Tanzania, President Zuma, the Prime Minister of Namibia and the Defence Minister of Mozambique representing the President of Mozambique, who is the SADC chairperson. The SADC Executive Secretary Dr Salomão was in attendance. The GPA parties were not represented, having instead been invited to make submissions in writing beforehand; submissions from all three parties were presented to the Summit by President Zuma.

    Communiqué According to the brief media statement issued later, the Summit received and endorsed a report from President Zuma on developments in Zimbabwe and commended him for his “efforts towards full implementation of the GPA”; commended the GPA parties on completing the constitution-making process, and called on them “to continue to work together towards creating a conducive environment for the forthcoming elections”; and said the Troika would “remain seized with the political developments in Zimbabwe” [full statement available from].

    Media and security sector reforms still on agenda Speaking in Harare a few days later, before the Referendum on 16th March, SADC Executive Secretary Salomão was a little more specific and confirmed that SADC is urging media and security reforms as well as electoral law reforms. And Lindiwe Zulu of President Zuma’s facilitation team, which was back in Harare for the Referendum, said SADC continues to push for the election roadmap to be implemented.

    PM Tsvangirai calls for SADC Summit – 15th March

    At a meeting on 15th March, Mr Tsvangirai told the SADC Election Observer Mission there were problems that needed to be addressed before the coming elections: there had been a resurgence of violence, there was still selective application of the law by a partisan police force, the Registrar-General’s office was frustrating registration of first-time voters and those people previously classified as aliens, and that he was concerned by the deployment of military personnel around the country and the failure of the SADC representatives on JOMIC to assume their duties. He called for a full SADC Summit to assess whether Zimbabwe was ready for free, fair and credible elections.

    JOMIC deadlocked over SADC participation

    The South African facilitation team met JOMIC members on 20th and 21st March but failed to secure consensus from them on the terms of reference for the attachment to JOMIC of representatives from the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation who were nominated months ago and have been awaiting deployment ever since. Press reports of a heated confrontation and gatecrashing by the facilitators were denied by their spokesperson Lindiwe Zulu, who said later that they had been invited to the meeting and that the roadmap leading to the elections now needed to be developed.

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