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On the 16th March 2013, the people of Zimbabwe voted in a historic Referendum for the New Constitution for their country, the second time they have done so since achieving independence in 1980. The first time was in February 2000 when citizens rejected the draft constitution but 13 years later, they overwhelmingly endorsed the draft supreme law. This paves the way for the enactment of the draft into the substantive new constitution for the country, signalling the end of a long and rugged road. This also clears the way for the anticipated watershed elections before the end of the year, bringing to an end a fragile coalition government.
The draft constitution followed a protracted and highly contested process led by the Parliamentary Constitution Select Committee (COPAC) drawn from Members of a two chamber Parliament of Zimbabwe in April 2009. COPAC reflected the composition of the 7th Parliament (2008-2013) in terms of the three parties to the Global Political Agreement signed in September 2008 (ZANU PF, MDC-T and MDC).
ZESN observed the Referendum and was able to draw lessons and recommendation which are outlined in this report. This report gives a background to the Constitutional reform process in Zimbabwe, tracing developments from 1980 to the current state. The report makes an analysis of the legal framework pertaining to elections in Zimbabwe. It also contains observations made by the network on Referendum day.

About The Forum

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (the Forum) is a coalition of twenty-two human rights NGOs in Zimbabwe. The Forum’s activities include transitional justice work, research and documentation, and public interest litigation. Learn more about us.

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