Zim Police Arrest Rights Lawyer

The Zimbabwean police have arrested the country's most prominent rights lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, and four senior officials from the Movement for Democratic Change, a day after the nation voted in a referendum on a new constitution that calls for more protection against human rights violations.

According to a police official, Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai's chief legal adviser, Thabani Mpofu, is accused of impersonating police by compiling dossiers on unspecified crimes.

SADC Declares Zim Referendum ‘Credible’

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’.

No Referendum for Zim Nationals Abroad

Zimbabwe says it will not abide by an African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) recommendation to accommodate citizens living abroad to vote in 16 March 2013 referendum.
The African Union body agreed last month that excluding ordinary people in the diaspora is a violation of their rights to participate freely in government.
However, the country says neither its current nor proposed constitution compel it to cater for citizens living abroad other than those working in government service.

Zim Monitors Threatens to Boycott Polls

Scores of independent Zimbabwean civic, pro-democracy and rights groups say they will boycott monitoring of voting in a referendum on a new constitution unless the state election commission withdraws bans on activists that affect several key local organisations.
The commission has so far refused to accredit as poll monitors members of the Zimbabwe Association of Human Rights and says groups under police investigation will also be barred access to the 16 March 2013 polling.

Groups Fear Zim Pre-Election Crackdown

Rights groups have voiced fears that the Zimbabwean authorities would launch a crackdown on rights activists ahead of a referendum and elections scheduled early next year.
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders says that the ‘situation of human rights defenders in Zimbabwe remains grim as their operating space can be further shrunk" in the run-up to polls’.

Zimbabwe Referendum Test for SADC's Mediation Efforts

The South African Development Community (SADC) will know in the next few months if its mediation efforts in Zimbabwe have achieved the desired effect, when the country goes to a referendum on a new draft constitution, followed by general elections.

In 2008, SADC mandated South Africa to facilitate talks between President Robert Mugabe, his arch-rival the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, and a smaller break-away MDC faction.

Sudan Urged to Prepare for Real Crisis

South Sudan’s humanitarian affairs and disaster management minister has urged South Sudan to prepare for what he called a ‘real crisis’, whatever the outcome of an upcoming referendum on the potential partition of Africa's largest country.

James Kok Ruea says id agencies and the United Nations should be ready to cope with massive displacement of southerners.

Zanzibar Holds a Referendum

Zanzibar held a referendum aimed at forming a coalition after upcoming polls in a bid to neutralise the blood and hatred that have blighted the Tanzanian islands' politics for decades.

The referendum got under way peacefully on the semi-autonomous territory's two islands of Unguja and Pemba and the principle of a national unity government following 31 October polls was expected to be widely endorsed.

NGOs Call for Calm After Referendum

Humanitarian and development agencies have called on Kenya to maintain peace regardless of the referendum outcome.

In a statement after a meeting in Nairobi to review measures put in place to ensure a successful referendum process on 4 August, the NGOs called for priority to be given in ensuring peace and tranquillity.

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