The difficulties now made evident by the 2013 Harmonised Elections are a product of the failure to institute the reforms required under the Global Political Agreement [GPA] of 2008. The inability by SADC to compel reforms led to increasingly strident demands for a clear “Road Map” for elections, built around a new constitution and reforms; essentially, these were demands to fully implement the GPA. At the eleventh hour, in Maputo, in June 2013, SADC re-stated these demands, to little avail. The election was held on the 31st July, resulting in an overwhelming victory for both Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF. This has not been a result without controversy, with many observer groups expressing reservations about the conditions under which the elections were held and others expressing downright scepticism. This report concerns itself with the conditions under which the elections were held - subsequent reports will deal with the actual poll and the results
A wit once commented that a camel was a horse designed by a committee. Very rarely are designs of anything useful the result of compromises, and especially compromises where the parties involved in design have radically different ideas. This might be a fair characterization of the draft constitution. This was perhaps inevitable with the Global Political Agreement as it stood, for this was not a transitional arrangement, but a peace agreement to lead to a transition, which it patently has not done. This paper considers Zimbabwe's proposed new constitution against the need for reform ahead of elections.
A close look at the numbers which emerged from the March 2013 Referendum should cause some disquiet for those who hope that the general election of 2013 will meet democratic standards. The numbers show that the question marks pertaining to the state of the Voters Roll remain. In fact, the need for urgent attention to this element of the electoral process is underscored. Furthermore, comparing the numbers on the Voters Roll with those of the Referendum and Census also somewhat undermines any confidence one might place in data presented by ZEC and ZEC itself.
Following the 2013 elections, RAU commenced a preliminary audit of the poll, seeking to fathom, as a central concern, the source of the over 1.03 million more votes Mugabe garnered in 2013 when compared with the 2008 poll. This is an increase of over 95% for ZANU PF, while Tsvangirais tally remained virtually unchanged.
The report is based on an analysis of published results in the presidential elections from 2008 and 2013 and voter registration statistics; the latter derived both from the voters roll and figures officially announced in the press.
Key Findings & Conclusions:
Conclusions from the study indicate that the additional 1.03 million votes gained by Mugabe cannot be explained by:
An increase in the number of registered voters; With the Registrar Generals office reporting that about 780 000 new voters were added to the voters roll for 2013, even if all of those newly registered had voted for Mugabe (unlikely), the source of about 250 000 thousand votes remains unexplained.
That there was a swing in voter allegiance away from Tsvangirai to Mugabe If Tsvangirais tally had been reduced by some switching allegiance to Mugabe, the deficit in votes would have had to be filled by some of the newly registered voters voting for Tsvangirai to keep his tally roughly the same. This then reduces the pool of new voters available to explain Mugabes vote, leaving the tally of unexplained votes unchanged. There were about 90 000 votes which had been cast for outside candidates in 2008 looking for a home in 2013. But even if these had been cast for Mugabe in 2013, 160 000 votes are still unexplained.
This then leaves two, and only two possible explanations, for the minimum of 160 000 unexplained votes.
a) That at least 160 000 people who were registered as voters in 2008, but who did not vote in that election, decided to vote in 2013; or
b) That Mugabes unexplained 160 000 ballots consists of numerous fraudulent votes (through multiple voting or ghost polling stations);
It must borne in mind that the 160 000 is a very conservative estimate. It does not take into account the possibility that some of the over 300 000 voters turned away may have been legitimate voters who were then unable to cast a ballot; it assumes that none of the nearly 290 000 people removed from the roll as deceased ahead of the 2013 poll had voted in 2008; it assumes that no voter from 2008 or new voter withheld a vote in 2013 and that none of the spoiled ballots were from new voters or those that voted in 2013.
RAU does not choose between the possibilities, but suggests that the matter certainly raises a large enough question mark over the poll to warrant further investigation, which should be welcomed by all parties.
NOTE: THIS IS AN ABRIDGED VERSION OF A LONGER REPORT TO FOLLOW SHORTLY
This paper critiques the judgment of the Constitutional Court in the case of Jealousy Mbizvo Mawarire v Robert Gabriel Mugabe N.O. and Ors CCZ1/13
In recent years, Zimbabwes legislation has been characterised by poor drafting. The resultant difficulty in determining the intention of the legislature has been exacerbated by the introduction of a new constitution for the country, which renders many laws unconstitutional. The hermeneutic conundrums presented by lacunae in legislation and conflicting provisions opens the door, to political, rather than legal, considerations playing a role when ascribing meaning to various statutes. This situation obtained in the recent election of mayors for the municipalities in Zimbabwe. The Ministry of Local Government decided that section 265(2) of the new constitution was clear and unambiguous. The section provides: All members of local authorities must be elected by registered voters within the areas for which the local authorities are established. The argument is that, since the mayor is a member of a local authority, he too must be elected by registered voters within the areas for which the local authorities are established, and, in the absence of the direct election of the mayor, this means that the mayor must be a councillor, as all councillors are elected by registered voters within the areas for which the local authorities are established. However, the article shows that this provision is not the only, or even the best, interpretation of section 265(2), and all indications are that the meaning placed upon this provision by the Ministry is not the one intended by the legislature. This being the case, the election of mayors in all municipalities as directed by the Minister in September 2013, should be held to be unconstitutional.
The Research and Advocacy Unit, RAU, is in the process of preparing a report on the state of the Voters’ Roll as it was as of 1st June, 2013. However, with elections pending, the exigencies of the situation demand that the key statistics, on which the report will be based, are released without delay. These statistics are of importance to all those concerned to ensure that the elections are conducted freely and fairly and with regard to accepted democratic standards. The statistics, although appearing with little accompanying comment, in most instances speak for themselves.
One of the erroneous conclusions to have come from the recent ZANU PF Conference was the notion that there was an end point to the GPA: specifically that there was a two year limit to the GPA. The GPA only provides a start date, which is the date of signing on 15th September 2008. So, the problem with the ZANU PF position is that the GNU continues as long as the GPA remains in force. The GPA does not even mention the timing of the next general election, and there is no requirement that either a new constitution must be in place or a referendum must take place. So the big question is when do the GPA and the GNU end and is there a means by which a GNU could be put into place?
The current constitution making process suggests another means of continuing a unity government. The parties involved in negotiating the provisions of the new constitution may announce a deadlock and that they are unable to agree a final constitution for the country. Instead of a final constitution, the negotiating parties could then indicate that the solution is to agree an interim constitution. This interim constitution would contain the provisions for a GNU II and contain clauses which create the conditions for free and fair elections within a stipulated time frame.
There is growing international recognition that women’s participation in elections is critical if a country is aiming to achieve a democratic and representative society. In Zimbabwe, women make up 52% of the population, but they are not as visible as their male counterparts in political and economic spaces. Ever since the first democratic elections in 1980 women have made up the majority of the voters, but have yet to see the influence that this might be expected to bring in their representation in Parliament and government. This report is an analysis purely of the gender data extracted from the voters roll as a way to understand the registration of men versus women, the registration of young women under 30 compared with the over 30s as well as to establish the gender specific irregularities. RAU carried out this analysis in partnership with the Women’s Trust.