‘Low voter turnout shows protest’

LEGAL experts and politicians yesterday said the low voter turnout during last weekend’s referendum could signal lack of confidence in the Copac draft constitution and Global Political Agreement leadership.

Report by Veneranda Langa

Slightly more than two million people turned out to vote during the referendum out of a possible six million eligible voters.

Lawyer and Zimbabwe Media Commissioner Chris Mhike said although the draft constitution will remain adopted after the “Yes” vote win, its legitimacy still remained questionable as it was endorsed by a small fraction of potential voters.

“Referendums are designed to reflect the thinking of a population’s preference or inclination about a particular matter, and if very few people express a view — that cannot be legitimately taken to be a majority view in the context of the entire population,” Mhike said.

“The low turnout certainly affects the credibility of the vote in that the views expressed were not expressed by a significant majority, but however, the draft constitution will remain adopted because legitimacy of an election is determined by those who have exercised their rights to vote.

“Lack of equality of voices during the campaign period to the referendum was reflective of what will happen in the main election because there is nothing to suggest that in the forthcoming elections dissenting voices are going to be given space to campaign on electronic and print media. This is also a very straightforward poll, but Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has failed to announce results within 24 hours. Of course it is legal that they announce within the five-day period, but that is a worrisome feature because we wonder how long they will take to announce results of the main election.”

National Constitutional Assembly spokesperson Madock Chivasa said although the “Yes” vote was poised for victory, this would not make the Copac draft constitution a good document.

“Very soon people would be crying because they are going to be ruled by a worse document than the Lancaster House Constitution. The low turnout is a clear lack of confidence in the Copac draft and the inclusive government. It is an illegitimate process, but the government leaders are too arrogant to admit that reality,” Chivasa said.

MDC 99 leader Job Sikhala said:“The huge boycott means the people of Zimbabwe have demonstrated there is a large constituency outside there that has passed a vote of no confidence in the GPA. The outcome is totally illegitimate.”

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16 Comments

  1. The number of people who voted in this referendum are far more than those who voted in the previuos elections ie parliamentary and presidential and as such it cant be said people boycotted the process. more than half of the registered voters voted and people can not be forced to vote. those who voted and particularly for the yes vote effectively voted for all of u and me. There is no doubt that out of the whole adult population many are not even registerd voters. its stsrange that people did not vote yet all u needed was acceptable positive identification. if people did not agree with the draft they wld have indicated by a no vote but alsas they did not even vote

  2. This paper is full of lies manje on this one manyangira yaona, vanhu vakavhota every zimbabwean who is currently in zimbabwe anozviziva saka musanyepa zvenyu. mo than 3million vanhu vakavhota

  3. That document z the worst koz of Tsvangirai and Mugabe interests

  4. How is the Lancaster House Constitution better than the new constitution. This Chivasa guy must be smoking mushrooms. I have read both constitutions and the new one is far better. Even the 2000 constitution that was rejected was far better than the Lancaster House constitution.

  5. Manyepo enyu anonyadzisa amana

    1. Congratulations current politicians. Once again you meet, sit drink tea and decide what constitution we need, you sell it as people driven, have a mock referendum, inflate the results and hooray Zimbabwe has its own new constitution. You reporters should tell us why the politburo rejected the first draft and why they accepted this one. You should tell us why the MDCs initial stance on not budging from the first draft spectacularly capitulated to this thing. Tell us want was removed or added to the original to come up with this negotiated one. If its people driven I assume the “people” gave the mandate and the points to negotiate. But why then did they not get enough time to study and consider the negotiated one? Who was in a hurry and why? This is an epic swindle but then again we are not in power and so we accept and move on. When the ignoring and total disregard of of citizens’ wishes stop, only God knows. I trust those involved are happy now and they move on to the next item on the agenda to usurp people’s right to decide their own destiny so that the few powerful individuals entrench their position and benefit. No price for guessing what the next item on the agenda is. God help us all.

      Zanu PF, well done because you are masters at politics. You have indeed earned what you are getting. MDCs shame on you because you forgot what the fight that won you support was about and capitulated taking the people’s hopes with you. Its delicious and sweet the gravy train isn’t it?

      Zimbabweans let us reflect, consider our options and play our last card during the elections.

  6. i am not a spammer.your system need to be checked

  7. mr editor cn gt e’ facts ryte. more than 3 million pple voted, which is nt bad 4 a referendum.

  8. Iv got a question.
    Why did Rita make an overnight change from the initial announcement that 2million ppl voted to the now 3million?.
    Why such a big disperity?
    Was it a question of premature announcement or figures have been ‘revised’.
    Are we sure such erronious announcements wont repeat again in the forthcoming election?
    Did 3million people really vote or they announced a number they considered safe?

  9. @Rita
    you are very correct. It could be close to 5million people voted but they will decrease the numbers to justify the current 2million active members voters roll and also defend their unwillingness to add new voters on the roll.
    Maitiro aMakarau anenge e guess work..

  10. @rita,rita u r spot on. yy such a big diffrence 4 such a simple nd straightforward poll? and y take more than 1 day to compile results. 3 days is way 2 much, m nw suspicious of rita n zec

  11. No use beating about the bush here..those who had opportunity to go and vote YES and NO chose to exercise that right..the fact that they voted YES is they must have liked what the document contained..calling the vote illegitimate as Sikala is trying to say here is an insult to Zimbabweans some of whom belong to his party….Of course if those who voted NO and those who boycotted the election are not happy about the numbers announced by ZEC they have every right to interrogate the result. In fact they should do so this way we get the issue of legitimacy of the count out of the way. This need not be treated as a laughing matter if the YES carried the day, there is no room and call for inflating numbers its not necessary. This is crucial going into the general election. ZEC have to clean itself up so that nothing taints their reputation going into the general election. ZEC will no doubt be cognitive of the fact that they do not have a good name and if this challenge vis-a-vis their numbers is mounted they should welcome it as will provide necessary validation of their work. Even if there were no challenge, ZEC should invite independent auditors to validate their work, good companies do this to validate compliance of their internal systems. In the meantime can the authorities move post haste to the next issue on the table that of electoral and security sector reform..the voters roll then on to the polls..then of course rebuilding the NATION. We have been standing outside in the rain at the assembly of serious nations for far too long.

    As aside, what is going to happen to the three great men who bored us to death about the constitution on national television..are they content to become rear view material in the light of the final nail in their coffins or are they shamelessly going to reinvent themselves and say we should maybe not have an election or some such pie in thesky nonsense? And now that the constitution is out of the way is the NCA and their nemesis COPAC still relevant???

  12. Well we have a good document by democratic standards whatever that means. By moral, spiritual and Godly standards however, the COPAC constitution is irredeemably bad, flawed and poisonous. Now that you have voted yes, take time to read the document slowly and carefully for yourself and answer the ff:

    1. Whether irreversibility of land reform is guaranteed or not? (Obviously its not at all despite the false assurances that it is)

    2. How many provisions in the document protect homosexuality? For prohibition of same sex marriages is not the same as prohibition of same sex unions, relationships and homosexual practices. You will actually find more than 20 provisions.

    3. Many other countless loopholes.

    I am sorry for those celebrating this document purely out of ignorance and naivety. Mark my words, they will overtake you in the not so distant future if corrective measures are not taken.

  13. all commentators before me you too dull to say even a sensible thing about the ref.

  14. NEWSADAY SYSTEM ADMINISTERING COMMENTS IS USELESS CALLING EVRYONE A SPAMMER!

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