Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change’s efforts to get first-time voters to register are being undermined by a concerted effort from the authorities, who are cracking down on individuals and groups seen mobilising youths to register.
On 5 May 2013, police arrested three volunteers from the Election Resource Centre (ERC) for carrying out activities under the group's popular 1st Time Voter Generation campaign, which encourages young people to register as voters.
ERC director, Tawanda Chimhini, handed himself in to the police in a bid to secure the release of the three volunteers and was immediately charged under section 40 of the Zimbabwe Electoral Act, which forbids individuals from conducting voter education without seeking permission from the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission.
To read the article titled, “Authorities blocking youth voter registration,” click here.Source:All Africa
Zimbabwe's lower house of parliament has approved a draft constitution endorsed in a March 2013 referendum, paving the way for new elections.
The draft constitution takes away the president's immunity after leaving office, bolsters the power of the courts and sets up a peace and reconciliation commission tasked with post-conflict justice and healing.
It also limits a president's tenure to two five-year terms, curtails presidential powers and abolishes the post of prime minister.
To read the article titled, “Zim MPs approve draft constitution,” click here.Source:Times Live
An international human rights delegation that recently toured Zimbabwe to assess the human rights situation has expressed concern over the non-implementation of agreed electoral reforms.
The group, which is also concerned about the harassment of civic groups and human rights defenders, says that there is increased intimidation, threats and violence against civil society and violations of the rights to freedom of expression and access to information in that country.
The group, which was sponsored by the Robert F Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights, further maintains that the current environment was not conducive for the holding of free and fair elections.
To read the article titled, “Zim not conducive for free, fair polls,” click here.Source:News Day
The Southern African Development Community (SADC), which brokered a coalition pact in Zimbabwe, has handed the constitutional referendum a clean bill of health despite isolated incidents of violence ahead of the vote.
The regional bloc has described the vote - which was set to endorse the constitution that will pave the way for elections - as ‘peaceful and credible’.
Bernard Membe, Tanzania's foreign minister who headed the SADC observer mission, points out that, "This is a major step in the implementation" of reforms agreed under a power-sharing government between President Robert Mugabe and his long-time rival, Morgan Tsvangirai.
To read the article titled, “Zimbabwe referendum credible - SADC,” click here.Source:News24
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has hosted a two-day seminar on electronic voting (e-voting) and counting technologies in Cape Town.
IEC vice-chairperson, Terry Tselane, states that the purpose of the event was to stimulate debate on electronic voting and counting.
"We are confident that our democracy has reached a level of maturity whereby we can have a healthy, robust discussion of the complex issues that require consideration before embarking on the journey of implementing e-voting, should we decide to do so," he explains.
To read the article titled, “IEC looks at possibility of e-voting,” click here.Source:News24
Reports say dozens of NGO employees have fled their workplaces amid fears of an increased crack down on civic organisations by state security agents in Zimbabwe.
The development follows a series of raids on NGOs by the police, in which offices of three NGOs were ransacked in the past two weeks and property worth thousands of dollars taken away by suspected state security agents.
A spokesman for the organisations, Zivanai Muzorodzi, is quoted as saying that most workers are too scared to go to work. Muzorodzi adds that, “We have seen a calculated move by the state to silence all NGOs ahead of the elections.”
To read the article titled, “Workers abandon NGOs,” click here.Source:The Zimbabwean
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has called on the South Africa’s civil society organisations (CSOs) to participate in the processes aimed at preparing the country for the 2014 elections.
IEC spokesperson, Kate Bapel, points out that the IEC value the contribution of CSOs in supporting and advancing democracy in South Africa.
She says the electoral commission has been partnering with the civil society sector for effective interventions in the country’s communities that sought active citizenship, especially with respect to marginalised and vulnerable groups.
To read the article titled, “We value civil society groups for 2014 - IEC,” click here.Source:New Age
Sub-Saharan African countries have seen major advances in freedom and democracy, according to the report ‘Freedom in the World 2013’ presented in the European Parliament.
The report by United States-based NGO, Freedom House, report marks the seventh consecutive year in which countries with declines outnumbered those with improvements.
The report notes that over the past year, three countries; Lesotho, Sierra Leone and Senegal, have moved from ‘partly free’ to ‘free’. It adds that Lesotho’s political rights indicators improved because, despite pre-election violence, it held free and fair parliamentary elections that resulted in a peaceful rotation of power.
To read the article titled, “Sub-Saharan Africa ‘freedom and democracy’ rankings inch up,” click here.Source:Eurasia Review
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) has called for an extra-ordinary Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit to adopt an election road-map for Zimbabwe before elections are held.
In a press statement at the end of its week-long Malawi mission, CiZC said as deputy chairperson of SADC - and the regional grouping's in-coming chairperson - Malawi is strategically-placed to deal with issues in Zimbabwe.
“We don’t have an official position of the Malawi government at the moment but they have received our statement and we will evaluate their response in due course. We are glad that our concerns have reached the top level of government,” explains CiZC advocacy committee chairperson, Mfundo Mlilo.
To read the article titled, “NGOs pushes for SADC extra-ordinary summit before elections,” click here.Source:AfriqueJet Actualité Afrique
Activist Mamphela Ramphele has officially launched a new political party platform at a news conference in Johannesburg, promising to ‘build the country of our dreams’.
Ramphele says the new party will be called, Agang, which is Sesotho for ‘build’, and will ‘declare war on corruption’.
The new party, which already has a website and twitter handle, and will contest the 2014 national elections since “... dream has faded for many living in poverty and destitution.”To read the article titled, “Mamphela Ramphele unveils political plans,” click here.Source:News24