Friday, 1 April 2011

Five steps SADC must take to ensure democratic elections in Zimbabwe

We, Zimbabwe civil society organizations under the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
banner, strongly urge the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to
urgently intervene in the Zimbabwe crisis to pave way for democratic elections
that are without violence or intimidation. We reiterate that Zimbabwe is not
ready for elections in 2011 and that on her own, without direct assistance from
SADC and the AU, Zimbabwe cannot deliver a credible election. We state
unequivocally that the conditions obtaining in Zimbabwe such as widespread
state-sponsored violence, partisan application of the law, increased deployment
of soldiers across the country openly intimidating citizens and campaigning for
ZANU-PF and increased arrests and harassment of rights activists and MDC
leaders all confirm that state institutions remain unreformed and unrepentant.
We therefore call upon SADC to urgently take the following five critical steps to
create an environment conducive to holding free and fair elections where
violence and intimidation play no part:
1. Push Zimbabwe to have a new, democratic constitution which includes
critical electoral reforms such as an updated and accurate voters’ roll,
guarantees for media freedoms, equal access by all political parties to
state media and repeal of all legislation that hinders free political activity.
2. Ensure that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, charged with elections
management, is fully independent, adequately resourced, professional,
and has direct technical support from the SADC Electoral Commissions
Forum to enable it to fully discharge its mandate.
3. In the context of its on-going mediation in the political conflict in
Zimbabwe, SADC must independently examine and certify that the
environment is conducive to holding free and fair elections before an
election date can be set, and SADC must supervise them to ensure full
compliance with SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic
4. Together with the AU and the UN, deploy peace-keeping monitors at least
three months ahead of elections to prevent state-sponsored violence and
intimidation and to guarantee peaceful transfer of power to the eventual
winner of the elections. The peace-keeping monitors should remain on
the ground a further three months after elections have been held.
5. Ensure that the elections are robustly monitored and observed by local,
regional and international groups.
For more information please contact:
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Regional Office, S.A - Mobile: +27 73 5211 813
Crisis Coali int Ziiombnabwe a time to act
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition is a broad based civil society network of over 72 active members
comprising churches, women’s groups, social movements, residents associations, labour unions, human
rights lawyers, and health professionals. It was formed in August of 2001; to focus on democracy, human
rights, good governance and sustainable development issues – working at locally, regionally and

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