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This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles

  • Daily Media Referendum Watch - Issue 10
    The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
    March 20, 2013

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    Zimbabweans praised for endorsing draft

    News of the announcement of the results of the draft constitution and the endorsement of the referendum as a ‘credible’ and ‘peaceful’ vote by a wide cross-section of Zimbabwean society, the region and the international community, flooded the electronic media – especially the national broadcaster, ZBC.

    Although the private electronic media also reported on the extensive approval of the referendum vote in six of their nine reports, they reported Prime Minister Tsvangirai, civic groups, and some sections of the international community expressing concern about what they viewed as a renewed crackdown on perceived ZANU PF opponents. These concerns appeared in three reports.

    One of those who were reported condemning the intimidation and arrests of civic and political activists, as well as journalists working for the private and foreign media, was the US-based Human Rights Watch. The global human rights watchdog released a statement yesterday urging the Zimbabwe government to “stop the abuse of power and hold those responsible to account”. It complained, “Police harassment and arrests of civil society activists has worsened as elections get closer”.

    Otherwise, most reports were on the commendation of Zimbabweans for the spirit in which the referendum was conducted. The praise reportedly came from the US and Namibian Embassies; Zimbabwe’s main parties; senior government officials; co-chairpersons of the Constitutional Parliamentary Select Committee (Copac); and some political analysts (ZBC, 19/8, 8pm; Star FM and ZiFM).

    In one of these, the U.S. Embassy released a statement “congratulating” the people and government of Zimbabwe for holding a peaceful, credible referendum. It viewed the vote as an “historic step forward” in the nation’s development of democracy and the rule of law (Star FM, 19/3).

    While the US Embassy conceded that there was “no violence or other significant problems” during the vote, it expressed concern over “reports that voters in some areas were instructed to vote at specific stations, or instructed to report to political party operatives after voting” (Star FM). The embassy also complained that “accreditation of observers was limited” but still believed “that the overall conduct of this referendum has helped to gain the confidence of the Zimbabwean people, neighbouring countries, and the international community”.

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