- Last Updated on 14 March 2013
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HEADS OF CIVIL SOCIETY COALITIONS
ZIMBABWE HUMAN RIGHTS NGO FORUM
8TH FLOOR BLUEBRIDGE, EASTGATE, HARARE
14 March 2013
Following the letter of our protest to GNU Principals, around the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)'s refusal to accredit some local NGOs. We wish to acknowledge receipt of the Principals' response delivered through private correspondence and public announcements.
In their response, the Principals concurred with the position we have been maintaining all along - that no local organization should be barred on the basis cited by ZEC. The Principals also urged ZEC to allow ZIMRIGHTS and other organizations in similar situations to accredit to observe the referendum.
We would also like to acknowledge that, without reference to our communication, ZEC as of yesterday had altered its position on the matter asserting that no local organization would be barred from accrediting to observe the referendum with the exception of one - ZIMRIGHTS.
ZEC contended that the NGO had been barred from accrediting to observe the referendum on the basis that it was facing "serious charges €.
At the present time, we have urged affected NGOs to attempt accreditation with ZEC based on ZEC's pronouncements of 13 March 2013 during its final referendum observer briefing, and the above understanding.
We continue to monitor the situation and will be holding a press conference at 11am on Friday 15 March 2013 to address the issue of accreditation and our actions thereof. Furthermore, we will also present our pre-referendum state of play report.
We remain convinced that ZEC, with respect to their independence and mandate to accredit observers, have no right to set aside constitutionally enshrined provisions and values around the presumption of innocence when deciding who can or cannot observe the referendum and other electoral processes.
We also advise that in light of standing communication from ZEC, ZIMRIGHTS has filed an urgent High Court chamber application seeking to ask ZEC's accreditation committee to reconvene and reconsider their application.
Finally, we wish to advise that the High Court ruled in favor of Mr Okay Machisa, the Director of ZIMRIGHTS stating that his placement on remand be set aside and rendered invalid. Furthermore, the High Court issued an order that Mr Machisa be immediately removed from remand.