The Botswana Civil Society SolidarityCoalition for Zimbabwe (BOCISCOZ)has declared the just endedZimbabwean elections unconstitutional ata conference facilitated by DitshwanelotheBotswana Centre for Human Rights lastweek. “We are acutely aware that the effectsof any election held in Southern Africaregion are experienced by us all. Free, fair,peaceful and credible elections are essentialfor the building of sustainable democracieswithin the SADC region. The SADC prin-ciples and guidelines governing democraticelections recognise this,” Alice Mogwe, theDirector of Ditshwanelo said.The civil society observed that after theestablishment of the Government of NationalUnity (GNU) in 2009, the ZimbabwePeace Project recorded a reduction in politically-motivated human rights violations.
The highest number recorded was 1 106 incidentsin October 2008. 444 incidents wererecorded in October 2012. However reportsin late 2012 raised concern. This includedthe politicisation of traditional leadership,the increase in political tensions as the countrymoved towards the 2013 elections, thepoliticisation of access to food, increasedvisible deployment of state security agentsand soldiers, political intolerance, intimidationand the increasing attacks on civil societyactivists.McDonald Lewanika from Crisis in ZimbabweCoalition (CZC) said a lot of questionsremain with no answers in Zimbabwe,“the major question is who would havevoted ZANU-PF? There are certain thingsthat took place which were not supposed tohappen.
We are still confused of what mighthave happened. Instead of investing a lot ofenergy to fi nd out what exactly happened,we are doing early introspections and blamingourselves. We know that the electionswere stolen and we know who stole them,”he said.Gladys Hlatywalo from Zimbabwe ElectionSupport Network (ZESN) said the voterswere systematically denied an opportunityto register to vote. “There were timelimitations on voter organisations. Peoplewere even arrested for conducting votereducation on the basis that they were notaccredited while in actual fact they wereaccredited by Zimbabwean Elections Commission.There were quite a number of reformsthat were not conducted prior to theelections. They were no attempts to harmonisethe laws with the new constitutionwhich was enacted by Zimbabweans.
On theelection date while the logistics appeared tobe in order we noted quite a number of irregularities.The police were stationed insidepolling stations which was in contraventionof the electoral ACT which says the policeshould be outside the polling station. This onits own intimidated the voters,” Hlatywalotold the attendants.Trust Maanda of Zimbabwe Lawyers forHuman Rights (ZLHR) said the elections inZimbabwe were held contrary to the provisionsof the constitution of Zimbabwe. “Besidesthe elections being not free and fair,I will label then unconstitutional elections.We must be aware that the freedom of association,freedom of choice, freedom toelect, freedom to stand as a candidate werebreached,” he said.At the end the civil society recommendedthat an investigation and audit must be done,and a document to lobby SADC be draftedas soon as possible.