Referendum credible: Sadc observer mission

HARARE - Regional MPs have given Zimbabwe’s referendum the green light, saying the process was “on the whole, a credible reflection of the will of the people of Zimbabwe”.

In an interim statement to the media in Harare yesterday, the Sadc Parliamentary Forum (Sadc PF) observer mission leader Prince Guduza Dlamini said Zimbabweans had been accorded the opportunity to freely decide their future.

“Based on its overall findings, the mission is of the view that there existed a substantially conducive and peaceful environment in which the referendum was conducted,” said Dlamini.

Dlamini, however, noted with concern complaints by some stakeholders on the conduct of the police in sanctioning public gatherings as well as the failure by authorities to legally constitute multi-party liaison committees to deal with possible referendum conflicts.

“The mission noted the complaints by some stakeholders who felt the police discretionary powers relating to sanctioning of political gatherings in Zimbabwe had the potential to affect the credibility of the electoral process through restricting freedom of assembly.

“We also noted with concern that multi-party liaison committees could not legally be constituted to deal with possible conflicts among stakeholders as they limit the composition to Zec and political party representatives. The mission is of the view that this could be broadened to include the police and civic society organisations,” Dlamini said.

Last weekend Zimbabweans voted in a constitutional referendum to either adopt or reject a draft constitution crafted by a parliamentary committee commonly referred to as Copac according to Article VI of the Global Political Agreement signed by Zimbabwe’s political leadership on September 15, 2008.

As Zec collates the results of the watershed referendum, indications are that proponents of the “Yes” vote are heading for a comfortable win. - Mugove Tafirenyika

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