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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
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 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 Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
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.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid