SADC to observe referendum

Mutsa Murenje called for international observers at the referendum

By Tichaona Sibanda
31 January 2013

The regional SADC bloc will send observers to monitor the country’s referendum on the new constitution, expected to be held in March this year, a senior MDC-T official has said.

Tendai Biti, the MDC-T lead negotiator, announced in Harare on Tuesday that his party was glad that the regional bloc was sending observers for the forthcoming referendum.

It is believed the issue of observers was discussed during a meeting between party negotiators and President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team, who were in Harare this week.

Last month a row over the role of international poll observers threatened to scuttle the electoral process as ZANU PF maintains that Zimbabwe has the capacity to hold free and fair elections without observers’ prying eyes.

Leader of the smaller MDC, Welshman Ncube, told journalists recently that international observers should be a pre-condition. ZANU PF is the only party in the inclusive government that is not comfortable having observers from countries that imposed targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his cronies.

Ncube confirmed to the Daily News newspaper last month that having SADC and the Non-Aligned Movement as observers is not contested, but ZANU PF will not allow the European Union. He queried why, if they had nothing to hide, they were afraid of having observers to monitor the elections.

The disputed 2008 harmonized elections sparked off massive electoral violence that saw over 500 MDC-T supporters killed, thousands more maimed and around half a million others fleeing their homes.

Analysts warn there is a high risk of a repeat of this violence around the country during the elections. A long and chaotic constitutional making process and regular outbreaks of intimidation from ZANU PF supporters have done little to instill confidence that peace will prevail during the electioneering period

Mutsa Murenje, a South African based political analyst, told SW Radio Africa that the inclusive government should invite international observers for the referendum, and not leave it to SADC alone.

‘The reason why international observers must be invited, apart from regional and local observer, is to help ward off potential problems and legitimize the process if it is deemed free and fair,’ Murenje said.

8 Responsesto “SADC to observe referendum”

  1. wilbert_mukori says:

    Why would Zanu PF be “uncomfortable” with having international observers, unless they have something to hide! Still, it seems Professor Ncube is making have international observers a “pre-condition” to holding elections (I assume) because he failed to get the reforms that would have made it impossible to have violence implemented. That is pretty stupid particularly since Mugabe is known for disregarding written laws what more some stupid condition dreamt up by a failed leader to impress journalists!
    Why does these two clowns, Tsvangirai and Ncube, just admit that they were stupid not to have implemented the reforms and very stupid to rubber stamp Mugade’s “dictated” Copac rubbish and therefore they withdraw their endorsement of the Copc Constitution. And if the referendum goes ahead, they will campainging for a NO vote. Mugabe will know he will not win the referendum and call off the whole thing. That will save the nation wasting a lot of money and time!

    • Yepec says:

      In the 2,000, Constitutional vote (Chidyausiku or Jonathan Moyo Constitution), the NO vote carried the day prompting Mugabe to say that the voice of the electorate has spoken. No new Constitution will be imposed against them

      The country continued to operate under the connived and imposed, colonial, British, Lancaster House Constitution. In your opinion Wilbert and that of the NCA,

      (i) Did the electorate vote NO because it thought that the Lancaster House Constitution was more liberal than the Chidyausiku, Draft Constitution? What had the people said to which Mugabe said they had spoke?

      (ii) Furthermore along the same lines, which interpretation/meaning of the NO vote was Mugabe talking about?

      (iii) Having heard its voice clearly, was it against a proposed home-grown, Draft Constitution or it had said that the Draft was not democratic? Given that stance which path is Mugabe following today and in the coming Referendum? For what reasons if one might add?

      (iv) Given the benefit of hindsight, is the electorate again, going to vote NO against the Copac Draft without having been given the strategy from there to DEMOCRACY? Do you think that the people of Zimbabwe are not ware of the arguments used in the campaign? Basically it is an elitist one, the same used by the white settlers in Southern Rhodesia – we know what is best for the ignorant and primitive Africans, so is Zanu PF saying the same to the electorate.

      (v) Finally, if all along, the people of Zimbabwe are suffering under the tyranny of Zanu PF and the dictatorship of Mugabe (oppression), what force is suddenly going to make them believe that by voting NO, they will be allowed to craft a people-driven Constitution guaranteeing free and fair elections plus a democratic dispensation?

      • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

        I can assure you that Wilbert has no clue and can not give an answer to the burning questions you have posed above. Yepec, you are always shooting down Wilbert’s silly reasoning powers although he is supposed to be our newly found political analyst, a designation he has recently been given by SW Radio Africa. It is a joke, that a man who is supposed to think critically and analytically, is always waffling most of the time.

        • wilbert_mukori says:

          Well I have said that Mugabe and Zanu PF are a corrupt and oppressive regime; that is both true and is not a joke! The joke is on you for denying it!

          • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

            Wilbert, let us work together so that there will violence free elections in Zimbabwe. What you are doing is fanning violence in the country. The sad thing is that you just write your thesis without carrying out a thorough research. I will explain why.

            If the people do not come out with a new constitution, as you are propagating, the Lancaster House Constitution will take precedence. It is not only logical as you would want the readership to believe but it is the correct legal procedure. Likewise, if the people of Zimbabwe reject the COPAC initiative, and cast a no vote to the referendum as you are advising them to do, Mugabe will not have sleepless nights as he will simply maintain the old order. In fact, this is what Mugabe and his party would like for the simple reason that the Lancaster House Constitution gives him enormous powers to run his government in ways that he wants. So which ever way you look Wilbert, you and your party will always be the losers.

          • wilbert_mukori says:

            The 2008 elections showed beyond doubt that the Lancaster House Constitution (LHC) could not prevent violence period. The GPA was to prevent a repeat of the violence of 2008 and so the reforms and a new constitution was agreed would be the way forward.

            The GPA also agreed that the people should be given a say in a referendum whether or not they like the new constitution, whether or not they believe the new constitution will prevent a repeat of the 2008. The referendum is not going to ask whether the people want Copac or LHC but instead do you want the Copac Constitution YES or NO.

            A yes will mean the Copac Constitution is the democratic constitution the GPA had promised and a NO vote will say it is not. A no vote will mean the tasks of implementing the reforms and writing a democratic constitution were not carried out properly and so they must be revisited.

            The essence of the GPA was to ensure the next elections are free and fair and not a repeat of 2008. The people of Zimbabwe are asking those who signed the GPA and those who are the guarantors of the GPA to deliver on that promise.

      • wilbert_mukori says:

        The 2000 constitution was initiated by Mugabe to replace the Lancaster one and so when the people rejected because it was no improvement reverting to the Lancaster was logical.
        This Copac constitution is coming as part of the GPA which accepted that the Lancaster one had failed to delivery free and fair elections as evidenced by the 2008 sham elections and asked for a democratic constitution. If the people reject this Copac constitution in the referendum the logical thing would be to reconstitute a body that will produce an acceptable constitution. To revert to the Lancaster one would not make sense because this was rejected already.
        The important thing that has come from the sham 2008 and GPA is that the people of Zimbabwe have a real chance to say what kind of constitution the want. For them to then vote yes to Copac which will never deliver the right to life, right to a meaningful vote free of political violence and a host of other rights is to short change themselves!

  2. super mondo says:

    i dont know what sa hope to achive .the constitution will close the book on investment in zimbobwe and the country will become the poorest on the planet,except those who have taken all the wealth and destroyed the land.

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