News / Africa

Zimbabwe Appears Set for New Constitution

A Zimbabwean election official counts ballot papers after the close of voting on a referendum to approve a new constitution, in Harare, March 16, 2013.
A Zimbabwean election official counts ballot papers after the close of voting on a referendum to approve a new constitution, in Harare, March 16, 2013.
— Preliminary results from Zimbabwe’s constitutional referendum show the draft will be approved, paving the way for new elections later this year. However, tensions flared after members of the opposition were arrested.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission says preliminary results show the draft constitution will be overwhelmingly approved. The results are posted outside all polling stations where ballot counting is complete.

The new constitution curbs the powers of the president and imposes a limit of two five-year terms, although President Robert Mugabe, who is 89, would be allowed to seek office again.

The leader of a Southern African Development Community election observer mission said Saturday's referendum was free and fair.

“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 Prince Gudiza Dlamini. "The Zimbabweans were accorded the opportunity to freely express their will in voting for a referendum outcome of their choice.”

That is almost exactly what the SADC observer mission said in its official statement Sunday.

However, on Sunday police arrested five people in a raid at Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's office. Four Tsvangirai aides were arrested, along with a top human-rights lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, who was detained as he tried to seek the release of Tsvangirai’s officials.

Monday, the activist group Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said police had defied a high court order to have Mtetwa released.

The group's director said Metetwa's arrest highlights the need for reform in Zimbabwe.  

“I think it shows that we are vindicated in setting out what needs to be done," said Irene Petras. "Political parties themselves need to look what is happening and see that these things need to be addressed because if we go into the election period with this kind of a police force, with these unreformed institutions, then we are likely to have problems in that election too.”

Saturday’s referendum was held to ensure Zimbabwe holds its next elections under a new constitution.

That was a condition set by African leaders when they pressured President Mugabe and Tsvangirai to form a power-sharing government four years ago. That followed the violent 2008 election in which Mugabe claimed victory over Tsvangirai, but the results were widely rejected as a sham.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Prince of Spin
March 18, 2013 10:46 PM
Smooth words in contrast as to what has been happening, will be interesting to hear more comments when the Elections take place.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid