Statement by the Southern African Trade Union Coordinating Council Observation team on Zimbabwe elections

Southern Africa Trade Union Coordination Council Observation
Mission to the Zimbabwe Harmonised Elections of 31st July 2013
Preliminary Statement
4 August 2013 Cresta Jameson Hotel, Harare, Zimbabwe
Southern Africa Trade Union Coordination Council
P.O. Box 601557, 5071 Kabelo Way, Extension 10, Gaborone, Botswana Tel: +267 390 1449/ 3160401 Fax: +267 318 4453
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The Southern Africa Trade Union Coordination Council (SATUCC) representing 19
national trade union federations in 13 Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)
countries with a combined membership 6 million working women and men deployed 27
observers to the 6 major provinces of Zimbabwe to observe the conduct of the 2013
harmonised elections.
The SATUCC observer team comprising 21 senior trade union officials drawn from
SATUCC affiliates arrived in Harare on 29 July 2013 and immediately started their
observation work on 30 July 2013 after receiving accreditation credentials from the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). The SATUCC observer team was complimented
by 5 local observers from our affiliate in Zimbabwe the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU).
Our approach and methodology sought to observe 2013 harmonised elections pre, during
and post phases of the election process. Due to late arrival our pre elections assessment is
largely informed by reports and statements of our affiliate and other election based
networks and social movements in Zimbabwe including the Zimbabwe Election Support
Network (ZESN).
During the polling day 31st July 2013 the SATUCC observer team covered a total of 87
polling stations in various wards and constituencies in the 6 provinces of Zimbabwe. After
the polling day 1st August 2013 SATUCC observer team again went around a number of
polling stations and wards.
Statement of Observations
Our preliminary observations are the following;
1. The 2013 harmonised elections were largely conducted in a calm and peaceful
environment compared to the 2008 elections. In this regard it can be safely
concluded the Zimbabwe harmonised elections generally peaceful despite isolated
cases of intimidation of voters being reported manly in the rural areas.
2. However, the credibility of the harmonised elections is greatly compromised by the
failure by the ZEC and the Office of the Registrar-General of Voters to release and
make available both the electronic and hard copies of the voters roll to contesting
political partners until on the eve of the voting day. The Zimbabwe Electoral Act
states that the Commission (ZEC) shall within, a reasonable period of time shall
provide the voters roll and provision of copies to political parties and indeed any
interested groups or individuals.
3. In all the 87 polling station visited SATUCC observer team witnessed a number of
voters being turned away as they could not be found on the voters roll and in a few
cases because they found themselves at the wrong ward as in most cases the voting
registration slip did not indicate the ward number. This seemingly systematic trend at
almost each polling station visited disenfranchised a huge number of voters now
estimated at about a million voters by ZESN again compromising the credibilityas
well as the fairness of the elections.
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4. The 2013 Zimbabwe harmonised elections also failed to meet a number of the
SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections among them the
following; (i) full participation of citizens in political processes for reasons cited in 2
and 3 above; (ii)equal opportunity for all political parties access state media; (iii)
equal opportunity to exercise the right to vote and be voted for; and (iv) voter
5. The preparedness of ZEC to conduct free and fair elections is called to question as
reflected in the several shortcomings in the preparations for the polls and during the
polling day. This view was equally expressed by the African Union (AU) as well as
the SADC. The Extra Ordinary Summit of the SADC Heads of State and
Government held in Maputo on 15 June 2013 while acknowledging the ruling of the
Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe on the elections date agreed on the need for the
Government of Zimbabwe to engage the Constitutional Court to seek more time
beyond 31 July 2013 deadline for holding the Harmonised Elections to among other
things address the recommendations of the report of the SADC Facilitator
President Jacob Zuma on Zimbabwe Political Dialogue ensuring the full
implementation of the (Global Political Agreement (GPA) in Zimbabwe. Summit
further urged the three parties to the GPA to undertake immediate measures to
create a conducive environment for the holding of peaceful, credible, free and fair
elections. Notwithstanding all this being not being in place the election date
remained unchanged as determined by the Constitutional Court.
6. On the regional dimension, SADC has not provided the much needed leadership and
strongly pressure the Government of Zimbabwe but quickly u-turned to accept the
stand of the Zimbabwe Government with SADC advance observer mission
indicating satisfaction with the Harmonised Elections preparations. The lack of
consistence on the part of SADC is rather disappointing because it was the same
SADC which sought the delay of the Harmonised Elections in Zimbabwe on
account of the state of preparedness to hold peaceful, credible, free and fair
elections. This development has the potential of encouraging disputed elections in
the SADC region.
7. SATUCC strongly feels that SADC must show consistence and coherence and
ensure Member States uphold the values and principles upon which it was
established. Only then shall the SADC citizenry have trust and confidence in their
regional institution. The rules must be clear to state that a Member State in SADC
cannot claim to be a member and at the same time defy all the values and principles
of the Organization.
8. In the view of the above SATUCC concludes that the 2013 harmonised elections to
large extent lack credibility and fail to pass the free and fairness test. At the same
time we commend the people of Zimbabwe for having held a largely peaceful
Issued in Harare on 3rd August, 2013.

3 thoughts on “Statement by the Southern African Trade Union Coordinating Council Observation team on Zimbabwe elections

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