CONSTITUTION WATCH 20/2013
[15th March 2013]
There has just been a Government Gazette Extraordinary to say
Referendum Day is a Public Holiday
Referendum – The Question being put to the Vote
The “business side” of the ballot paper [the reverse side] has a few introductory lines identifying the draft Constitution as the one prepared by COPAC, adopted by Parliament and published in the Government Gazette.
It then spells out the question to be answered, as follows:
Are you in favour of adopting the draft Constitution as the new Constitution of Zimbabwe?
If you are in favour, make a cross in the rectangle opposite the word “YES”
If you are against, make a cross in the rectangle opposite the word “NO”
Judging by the number of Requests we have had for the wording of the Question for the Referendum – it has not been well publicised
All the Referendum Proclamation said was:
“WHEREAS I consider it desirable to ascertain the view of voters on whether or not the said draft Constitution, should be enacted as the Constitution of Zimbabwe;
AND WHEREAS it is the function of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to conduct referendums in terms of section 100C of the Constitution of Zimbabwe:
NOW, THEREFORE, under and by virtue of the powers vested in the President as aforesaid, I do, by this my proclamation—
(a) declare that a referendum is to be held in order to ascertain the view of voters on whether or not the draft Constitution which is published in a Gazette Extraordinary together with this Proclamation should be adopted as the Constitution of Zimbabwe;”
The Question was set by ZEC based on the wording of the Proclamation.
The Question was not gazetted and there is no requirement in the Referendums Act or Regulations that it must be gazetted.
ZEC have said that they presented the sample ballot paper to stakeholders and members of the public at ZEC headquarters in Harare on 22nd February. The story was picked up by some media reports but ZEC did not advertise the Question in the press.
Nor did they indicate the wording of the Question in their voter education outreach. Their pamphlet on the referendum does not have it.
This failure to publicise the Question probably does not matter as it is a simple question and it has been clear all along that the Referendum was about saying YES or NO to the draft constitution.
The Result of the Referendum will be decided by whichever answer – YES or NO – gets a simple majority.
The Constitution Watch bulletin sent out on 13th March, was incorrectly numbered 18/2013. It should have been 19/2013. Also – for those of you who had difficulty accessing the smart phone/tablet App of the draft Constitution on www.constitution.veritaszim.net – this has been rectified with our web host and either that address or constitution.veritaszim.net will get through to the download instructions.
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied