Polling stations to open for 12 hours during referendum

Eric Matinenga

By Tichaona Sibanda
15 February 2013

Zimbabweans wishing to cast their votes during the referendum will do so between 7am and 7pm, according to a statement published in the government gazette on Friday, and issued on the orders of President Robert Mugabe.

High turnout is expected on March 16th as the country decides on the new constitution. Anyone above 18 years old and with an ID card will be able to vote in any polling station countrywide.

Eric Matinenga, the Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, said he would have preferred the referendum vote over two days.

Briefing journalists in Harare on the day he announced the date for the referendum, Matinenga said he was going to lobby the ‘powers that be’ to allow Zimbabweans more time to vote for the new charter.

If Zimbabweans support the new constitution by voting Yes in the referendum the country will proceed to have harmonized elections in July, according to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

The anticipated elections have caught the attention of the regional and international community, who fear a repeat of the violence that rocked Zimbabwe in the disputed 2008 poll. After that election over 500 people were dead, tens of thousands had been tortured and over 500,000 displaced from their homes.

Already President Ian Khama of Botswana has expressed reservations over the possibility of peaceful elections being held, saying those responsible for the “brutality and intimidation” of 2008 remain in place and ready to act.

Khama told the Business Day newspaper of South Africa on Wednesday that he hoped elections would be peaceful and fair.

‘All I can say right now is that I hope there will be a credible election … The reason I say ‘hope’ is because all the people who were involved in the brutality and intimidation that took place back then are still there today,’ Khama said.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said a special SADC summit will be held soon on Zimbabwe, to ensure the forthcoming elections are free and fair.

Speaking while addressing civic society leaders on the draft constitution, Tsvangirai said: “We will have a special summit on Zimbabwe on conditions for free and fair elections with SADC. We will not allow a repeat of the culture of violence and abuse like what happened in 2008. I do not want to be part of a war against the people.”

Pedzisai Ruhanya, a director with the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, said: ‘I think SADC has said it loud and clear that they will not accept an election that is not free and fair and an election that is marred by violence.”

7 Responsesto “Polling stations to open for 12 hours during referendum”

  1. super mondo says:

    as long as the people vote no .

  2. wilbert_mukori says:

    I believe President Khama is speaking to Zimbabweans in Zimbabwe as well
    as those in the diaspora both in SADC and beyond. SADC and the international
    community are real fed up with Tsvangirai’s duplicity. One day he is crying to
    SADC leaders to help him pressure Mugabe on this issue or that issue and the
    next day he is the one tell them to leave Mugabe alone.

    Tsvangirai is like a neurotic woman whom everyone advised that she should not marry a good-for-nothing brute but, ignoring the good advice, she marries
    the brute. After years of beatings and abuse she finally comes back home with a
    swallow eye and broken arm. Everyone says enough is enough; they get the Police and Lawyers in to have the matter sorted. When brute shows up, he blows a kiss at her and she is all over him like a rash! Love is blind, nonsense; that is a severe cause of neurosis!

    Mugabe has stubbornly refused to implement all the reforms that would have made free and fair elections free of violence possible. And now has the audacity
    to call for free and peaceful elections, only an idiot would believe he is sincere.
    A hyena calling for a peace conference in the dead of night; not even a stupid goat would believe it is peace he is after.

    President Khama is now addressing the ordinary people of Zimbabwe to
    appeal to their common sense and not go through yet another totally meaningless election process that will only end up in more suffering and chaos. If Zimbabweans are really sincere about ending the country’s political and
    economic crisis, then we must implement the reforms BEFORE the elections. We, the ordinary Zimbabweans are as neurotic as Tsvangirai then we took will fall for the hyena’s midnight peace overture and face the consequences of one of the strongest crashing jaws on earth.

    • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

      President Khama is the only white woman’s child born of a black-man holding the position of president on the entire African continent giving lectures on how to conduct elections in a neighbouring country. Nobody in Zimbabwe I know supports the views of a coloured president in Botswana whose views of the African continent have largely been considered as Eurocentric. It could well be that his biased view of anything African and Zimbabwean in particular was due to his background – his mother was a white lady married to the late king of Botswana. They say blood is thicker than water.

      • wilbert_mukori says:

        Zimbabwe are listening to what he is saying and it makes sense. They can see it with their own eyes that the thugs are still above the law and the Police are still harassing people and applying the law in their usual partisan way. The people can see that Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s promise that he will get the reforms implemented and there will be no violence are but empty lies.
        What your are wittering about is nonsense as usual!

        • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

          You obviously have views of the coloured president in Botswana which have no impact/resonance in Zimbabwe, mate. In fact, only a few of our people like you listen to the crap from a foreign coloured president that does not bring bread and butter on the table to them. If anything, they would rather listen more to Welshman Ncube than president Khama who should really mind his business in Botswana. President Khama and his government has a mammoth task in integrating the majority of his Tswana people with the Bushmen (San people) whose well-being has largely been ignored for generations by his government. In a country that prides itself of the riches from its diamonds, the San people who are the indigenous people of this country still live in abject poverty in this 21st century.

  3. wilbert_mukori says:

    “We will have a special summit on Zimbabwe on conditions for free and fair elections with SADC. We will not allow a repeat of the culture of violence and abuse like what happened in 2008. I do not want to be part of a war against the people.” This sums Tsvangirai beautifully, in his effort to be as decisive and in control he shows the exact opposite, the real Tsvangirai indecisive and completely confused.

    SADC have given you the tasks of implementing the democratic reforms and writing a democratic constitution. Not even one reform has seen the light of day and you are taking to the nation a constitution so weak and feeble even you know it will never stop the violence. SADC gave you the condition for free and fair elections already and you failed to implement them what else do you WANT from SADC?

    You are asking for this SADC summit because you know they will be violence and you are hoping they will come up with something to help. And yet you are already out telling the people they will be no violence just to get them to vote yes! How confused is that?

    “We will not allow…” Please, since when have you been in a position to allow or not allow anything? You are just a puppet and Mugabe has been pulling the strings! As Mugabe’s puppet you are “part of a war against the people.”

    You want SADC to say something that you can then twist as assurance from SADC that the elections will be free of violence. So if the violence, we all know is coming, sweeps the nation you can then blame SADC. Well President Khama’s comment is as clear as a whistle; in the present set up, there is no way the violence of 2008 can be avoided and anyone saying otherwise is lying!

    The very least you can do for the people of Zimbabwe, especially the millions who risked their lives and limbs voting for you and your MDC friends in 2008 is tell them the truth: you failed to get the reforms implemented, there will be violence if the elections go ahead and therefore they must vote no in the referendum!

    What a complex web we weave once we start lying. Mr Prime Minister Tsvangirai you are caught in your own web of lies; SADC, even with the best will in the world, will not get you off!

  4. super mondo says:

    if the voting takes as long as the constitution.they will need 12 weeks

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