The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), a network of 31 non-governmental organisations working on the promotion of democratic elections in Zimbabwe, observed the Constitutional Referendum on Saturday 16 March 2013. ZESN deployed approximately 600 observers across the country, drawn from some of its member organisations.
ZESN findings show that the process was generally, peaceful and smooth with very few recorded incidents of violations. ZESN commends ZEC for putting together the logistical support within a short time.
However, our pre-referendum concerns remain as they impact on the voting processes. The untimely departure of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Chair Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe; the extremely limited time provided to ZEC to prepare for the Referendum; the inadequacies in voter education on the contents of the draft constitution, the inadequate and subsequent delay in allocating funding to ZEC; as well as the intimidation/harassment of civic organisations, contribute to our concerns.
ZESN commends the ZEC officials for responding timeously and professionally to concerns of the observers despite the shortcomings highlighted earlier.
ZESN acknowledges the process is not over and continues to observe post voting procedures – counting, tallying and the tabulation of results. ZESN PRELIMINARY STATEMENT ON THE CONSTITUTIONAL REFERENDUM