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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
Report regarding breaches of the Electoral Act and the Constitution
in Bulawayo East Constituency
Coltart, Movement for Democratic Change
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The recent Zimbabwe
conducted on the 31st July 2013 was fraught with very serious
breaches of Zimbabwe's Electoral Act and Constitution. This report
focuses on the general breaches, which affected the entire election
but also deals with particular breaches which occurred specifically
within the Bulawayo East Constituency.
has been compiled by the David Coltart Campaign team with the assistance
of over 90 election agents who observed the election on behalf of
David Coltart and the MDC on the 31st July 2013. These agents had
been trained beforehand and comprised a wide range of citizens including
chartered accountants, teachers, human rights and political activists,
university lecturers and other professionals.
proclamation of the Election itself
proclamation of the election date was in breach of section 31H of
the previous Lancaster House Constitution (which provision was still
in force at the time the proclamation was made) in that he did not
consult Cabinet before making the declaration as he was obliged
use of the Presidential Powers Act and regulations to promulgate
amendments to the Electoral Act
On the 13th
June President Mugabe purported to amend the Electoral
Act by means of three Electoral Amendment Regulations (Statutory
Instruments 87, 88 and 89 of 2013) he made in terms of the Presidential
Powers (Temporary Measures) Act. In doing so he was in breach
of Section 157(1) of the Constitution and Section 4(2)(c) of the
Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act itself which both specifically
state that the Electoral law cannot be made by regulations promulgated
in terms of the Presidential Powers Act and must be made by a specific
Act of Parliament.
of Section 6(3) of the 6th Schedule as read with section 155(2)(a)
of the Constitution
of the 6th Schedule of the Constitution states that "the Registrar
General, under the supervision of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission,
must conduct a special and intensive voter registration and a voters
roll inspection exercise for at least 30 days after the publication
day". This provision was very seriously breached by the Registrar
General of Voters in the Bulawayo East Constituency and elsewhere
in the country. For example in Ward 4 of the Bulawayo East Constituency
the exercise only started on the 2nd July after the nomination court
had already sat and then when it started there was initially only
one registration centre located at Lochview School which is located
on the outskirts of the Constituency and far from the main population
centres of the Constituency. This made it very difficult for the
residents of Bulawayo East, especially young and poor people, to
register. This matter was raised with the Minister responsible for
the Registrar General's office Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
repeatedly and with the ZEC itself.
There was a
similar policy adopted countrywide in most urban centres. The Registrar
General located insufficient numbers of registration centres in
urban areas, they were often located at remote sites (such as Lochview
School) and processing of applications was extraordinarily slow.
This has resulted countrywide in tens, if not hundreds, of of thousands
of citizens effectively being disenfranchised because they were
not given an opportunity to register. Serious anomalies have resulted
with for example some rural provinces such as Mashonaland West (in
the past a Zanu PF stronghold) registering almost 3 times the numbers
of new voters than Harare the capital (an MDC T stronghold). The
Constitutional provision is clear - it was to be "intensive"
and was to last "30 days" and the exercise, certainly
in Ward 4 of the Bulawayo East Constituency, was neither intensive,
nor lasted 30 days in every Ward.
of the voters roll prepared prior to the intensive voter registration
exercise done by the Research and Advocacy Unit is revealing in
this regard. This analysis is based on several data sets:
1. 2012 Census
2. 2008 Voters Roll
3. 2013 Voters Roll (dated 15 June 2013) - note that this is not
the Final Roll as used in the 31 July election.
4. 2008 Delimitation Report
analysis does not draw on the final voters roll used in the election
itself it is revealing in several respects. Common to the nationwide
picture there are hardly any people in the 18 to 23 age band age
group as indicated in the following table indeed accordingly the
roll only 1799 in the 18 to 29 age groups out of a total adult population
assessed by the census to be 28617!
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