We, the Heads of CSO Coalitions and Networks would like to categorically state that the elections held in Zimbabwe on July 31st, 2013 and the processes leading up to them do not by any stretch of the imagination qualify this election as being free, fair or credible.
We take the above position fully subscribing to the reasons and substantiations given by ZESN and SADC-CNGO at their Press Conferences held on 1st and 2nd, of August 2013, respectively on the following issues:
- Lack of Integrity of the Voters’ Roll
- Lack of timely availability of the Voters’ Roll
- Suspiciously high number of voters turned away
- Suspiciously high number of assisted voters
- Bussing of people from outside constituencies
- Contested election timing and rules
- Failure to implement agreed reforms
- Systematic and intentional disenfranchisement of potential and registered voters
ZEC failed to provide explanations and corrective action that would have assuaged the above concerns, thus facilitating and allowing for possible manipulation of the process.
It is curious that when ZEC was unable to meet the constitutional requirement that all those eligible to register be afforded an opportunity to do so, it categorically stated that it would apply the provisions of the Electoral Act in relation to the cut off date, leaving many disenfranchised.
However, it brought an application to the Constitutional Court asking that provisions of the Electoral Act be suspended to accommodate special voters who had failed to vote on the appointed dates.
We note the encouragement by different stakeholders and Observer Missions for aggrieved parties to approach the courts for redress. We however, respectfully disagree with that approach because we believe it is the courts that got us into this contested position. We have no reason to believe that the same courts can get us out of the mess.
We regard this election as illegitimate and not reflective of the will of the people. The time for action by democratic forces is now. People should be allowed to peacefully exercise their constitutional rights that ZANU PF has already,through Patrick Chinamasa, threatened to remove.
We implore ZEC to urgently release statistics of assisted voters per polling station, statistics of people turned away per polling station nationwide and the reasons thereof and the total number of people who voted using voter registration slips per polling station nationwide.
ZEC already has this critical information and it will cost it nothing but the will to release this information. We call upon the Registrar General of Voters to immediately release the electronic copy of the Voters’ Roll to all interested parties.
Claims of its unavailability are illogical as the hard copy is generated from the electronic version.