Farirai Machivenyika and Felex ShareTHE overwhelming endorsement of the draft constitution by millions of Zimbabweans was a clear indication
that the majority identified with the document and the process was not only people-driven but nationally representative, analysts said yesterday.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission yesterday released results of the watershed referendum held over the weekend to give Zimbabweans the opportunity to adopt or reject the proposed national constitution.
According to figures released by ZEC’s Chief Elections Officer Mr Lovemore Sekeramayi, 3 079 966 people voted for the adoption of the draft while 179 489 voted “No”.
A total of 56 627 ballots were rejected, bringing to 3 316 082 the total number of votes cast in the referendum.
Addressing journalists, ZEC chairperson Justice Rita Makarau commended Zimbabweans for voting peacefully.
“On behalf of ZEC, I want to thank and congratulate the people of Zimbabwe for the demonstration of maturity during the conduct of the referendum, which was a peaceful process throughout and to again thank the people of Zimbabwe for their patience while we were finalising the collation process yesterday (Monday),” she said.
Although the law allows ZEC to release referendum results in five days, weekend poll results were announced in three days.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has hailed Zimbabweans for endorsing the draft constitution.
Addressing the media in Harare yesterday, the PM said the overwhelming vote for the draft was a landmark achievement for the country.
“From the Zambezi to the Limpopo, millions voted for a new era that respects human dignity, an era that will see the broadening of basic human rights, the empowerment of women and the setting of term limits for the President and heads of other public bodies,” said Mr Tsvangirai.
Zanu-PF national spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo said the results showed that Zimbabweans could make decisions independently.
“The results are an indication of the excitement that the people have for new ideas as we are moving from one constitution to another.
“This is a good development done in a peaceful environment and we hope to build on this one as we go to the harmonised elections.
“We applaud Zimbabweans for overwhelmingly voting in an orderly and smooth manner for this home-grown constitution. That is what we expect from an educated community like ours.”
Political analyst Dr Maxwell Hove said the results were reflective of the wide public consultations carried out by Copac.
“If you look at the figures, you will see that they have got a national character, meaning many people participated. The methodology that was used shows that it was people-driven.
“People were involved right from the start, participating in the outreach programmes and even up to this stage, people were sending representatives.
“People knew what was happening, a sign that the document is all about people’s views,” Dr Hove said.
MDC-T spokesman, who is also Copac co-chairperson, Mr Douglas Mwonzora, thanked Zimbabweans for voting in peace saying the draft would now be taken to parliament.
MDC spokesperson Mr Kurauone Chihwayi, described the home-grown constitution as a victory for Zimbabweans.
“The figure points to a new era and political dispensation. This shows that Zimbabweans can bury their differences and join hands when it comes to political processes that are meant to take the country forward,” he said.
University of Zimbabwe political scientist Dr Charity Manyeruke, said the high voter turnout showed that Zimbabweans were no longer passive in national processes.
“This is the highest figure obtained from any voting process we have conducted in the country, a sign that people are beginning to actively participate in determining the course of the country.