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Archive for the 'Constitution Referendum 2013' Category

Zimbabwean electoral ‘red lines’ can’t be drawn in the sand

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Wednesday, May 8th, 2013 by Amanda Atwood

Zimbabwean electoral reform and conditions are the subject of much discussion as Parliament begins debate on Zimbabwe’s Draft Constitution this week.

The Constitution, however, is just the beginning. As an article prepared for the Zimbabwe Election Support Network points out, a great deal of legal reform needs to happen in the coming months to prepare for Zimbabwe’s elections. For example, Zimbabwe’s Electoral Act will need to be revised to accommodate new structures including proportional representation.

In addition, the Zimbabwean electoral landscape needs to loosen up. This includes the media, the voter registration process, and also a respect for basic human rights like freedom of association, expression and assembly.

The International Crisis Group’s latest report Zimbabwe: Election Scenarios recognises the challenges that Zimbabwe’s electoral process will face this year, but is optimistic that if SADC draws “red lines” (think the US + Syria) which are enforced, Zimbabwe’s next election could be peaceful, and yield a credible result.

But as they note in their conclusion:

Progress is possible, but only if fundamental contradictions between the parties’ interpretation of what is now required are resolved. Whereas the MDC formations have called for the full resolution of outstanding election roadmap issues even after adoption of a new constitution, ZANU-PF says the new constitution should supersede the roadmap. Without agreement on such important issues, Zimbabwe is not ready for elections. At the same time, without a more concerted effort, there is no guarantee that deferring the election further will indeed lead to reform. At the very least, more robust engagement of civil society and citizens with SADC facilitators and GPA mechanisms, such as the JOMIC, is required to develop confidence in Zimbabwe’s battered institutions, especially through the deployment of an expanded monitoring presence.

This is exactly the problem: “Without agreement on such important issues, Zimbabwe is not ready for elections. At the same time, without a more concerted effort, there is no guarantee that deferring the election further will indeed lead to reform.”

If neither local politicians nor pressure from SADC have helped get agreement on these issues yet, why will the next six months be any different?

Was the referendum a wake up call for Tsvangirai?

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Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 by Lenard Kamwendo

After falling into a deep slumber for the past five years of basking in the glory of the government of national unity the MDC woke up to the shocking voting patterns in the recent constitutional referendum.

This surprise wake up call brought shivers to the MDC executive and recent media reports suggest that the Prime Minister is now trying to resuscitate broken relationships with former Comrades to forge an alliance ahead of the presidential elections scheduled for this year. The biggest worry is whether this is a unity of purpose or a strategy to silence critics. After the results were published the rural areas commanded a large turn out as compared to the urban areas. Recent the MDC has been shooting down research findings carried out by independent groups. They believe that they still command a large support base. The MDC should 1) lobby the rural electorate 2) weed out corruption amongst its leaders 3) stop wasting resources wining and dining in Harare to please ex-cadres.

Zimbabweans’ priorities for the new Constitution

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Tuesday, March 26th, 2013 by Amanda Atwood

Zimbabweans' priorities for the new Constitution

Zimbabweans’ priorities for the new Constitution

Given that both Zanu PF and MDC-T were campaigning for a Yes Vote in last weekend’s Constitutional Referendum, it’s not surprising that the Referendum passed by a wide margin, and the Draft Constitution will go before Parliament soon.

But as the case of Beatrice Mtetwa recently demonstrated, it’s one thing to have a Constitution, and another thing to follow it.

With this in mind, Kubatana recently solicited Zimbabweans’  priorities for the new Constitution via text message. We received hundreds of replies, and by far the most pressing concerns were for respect for human rights (including freedom of speech, media freedoms and freedom of assembly), adherence to the rule of law, security sector reform and free and fair elections. The word cloud above is a visual representation of all subscribers’ responses.

Where possible, we mapped this feedback as well, and we found over 200 points on a map of Zimbabwe, with subscribers sharing their priorities from across the country. Link to the interactive map below, and click on individual points to read these subscribers’ feedback in their own words, by location and category.

Open map in new window


We voted ‘no’. In defeat we were proud.

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Wednesday, March 20th, 2013 by Bev Clark

A Kubatana subscriber confronts the constitutional referendum with confidence:

The day began with gathering about ten people in my hood. I stay in Maridale, Norton. I asked who had seen or read the draft. A friend said he was given a Ndebele version at work. He is a serving military man. And he cant even say ‘ca’. I asked how each one was going to vote. ‘Yes’ because that’s what the government is saying, came the reply. Yes, we all want a new constitution, but how can I vote blindly with the crowd I asked? So in the end we decided to protest. We voted ‘no’. In defeat we were proud.

Where is the law in Zimbabwe?

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Tuesday, March 19th, 2013 by Michael Laban

Well, that was dismal. Almost as exciting as the election of the new Pope! There were more people administering the referendum than people to vote in it. What this most says to me – the people think the politicians (and politics) are irrelevant.

Legislation. What is it for? There was new legislation recently about some new sticker on the back of pick-ups. Where did that come from? Do the police know or understand it, or is it an excuse to solicit bribes at roadblocks?

In a previous blog, I wrote about spending time stopped on Chiremba Road. I never did find out what, if any, ‘offense’ I had committed, under any legislation.

There is new legislation on fuel costs. Who will enforce this?

I read an article in the Mail and Guardian some weeks back, about 450 vehicles (new/ secondhand/used Japanese imports) a day crossing the border. None of it legal. None of it having duty paid for. And the local car industry was collapsing. This is SERIOUS lack of law enforcement, with SERIOUS consequences for Zimbabwe, and Zimbabwean jobs. Not to mention unsafe vehicles all over the roads, killing people.

There is no rule of law in Zimbabwe. So why must we go out there to dip our fingers in ink to agree, or disagree with a new law? (That is all a constitution is. Basic law.) And who did vote? At another meeting today, one guy there, was the only one of 8 in his office that voted. That is a 12 1/2 percent turnout.

But it all stems from our leaders. They have shown us this is the way it is to be done.

In my case, the Registrar General, Tobaiwa Mudede, should be in jail. He was handed a court order in 2002 ordering him, within seven days, to announce the results of my election. He has never done so. He is in contempt of court. The law says, if you fail to comply with a court order, you will go to jail until you do. It has never been done. Mudede should have been in jail for the last ten years. Yet he is running a senior government office. Taking pay.

Where is the law in Zimbabwe?

The head of the ZNA (treasonous fellow), declares who he will salute, and who he will not salute. As if the army belonged to him, and not the people of Zimbabwe! He will salute who he feels like, and not who the people of Zimbabwe tell him to salute. However, instead of the law taking its course (for treason you get hanged by the neck until dead), this man is still head of Zimbabwe’s Army.

Where is the law in Zimbabwe?

We live in medieval China of the warlords. The Wild West. Harry Potter world, in the last book, where the ministry has collapsed. This is fantasy. Legislature has been made irrelevant, just as the justice system has been made irrelevant. Only power exists.

So why should we get out and vote for something irrelevant?

Most people don’t know 99% of the draft constitution

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Monday, March 18th, 2013 by Bev Clark

Standing in the referendum queue was a jab  and casting my  “yes” a hook. And queuing in the Elections will be a ferocious uppercut to all who underestimate my power to effect change.

I live in Hwedza South. On Referendum Day people were quite eager to cast their votes. Admittedly most did not read nor did they even see the document but the better devil to choose was to move away from the old constitution. On the side lines of polling places most were saying they cast a YES vote. Most people are however expressing great concern at why the names & ID Nos are taken down before one can be allowed to cast as this could easily be cross – checked should the need to victimise arise.

Most people do not know 99% of the draft constitution: only land and gay was talked about to the people especially in Zvimba.