Zimbabwe goes to elections on the 29, March 2008. BOCISCOZ (The Botswana Civil Society Coalition in Solidarity with Zimbabwe) calls upon all Zimbabweans living and working in Botswana, to use this opportunity to exercise their freedom of choice and their right to participate in the governance of their country.
BOCISCOZ has noted the mediation efforts by the SADC-selected mediator, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa. One of the effects of this could have been to facilitate free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.
We recognize the positive decision taken by the Minister of Justice, Parliamentary and legal affairs, to approve the request of the Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network (ZESN) to observe the harmonized elections on the 29 March 2008. We call upon the Government of Zimbabwe to enable transparent and accountable electoral processes, including the use of postal balloting, independent external observers, and an increase in the number of polling stations in urban areas, including Harare and Bulawayo.
BOCISCOZ is concerned about the limited independence of the electoral body; biased media coverage; the limiting of polling stations within urban areas; the negative effects of the intimidations and arrests of the opposition and other members of the civil society as well as the political violence.
Notwithstanding these challenges, BOCISCOZ believes that it is the Zimbabwean people who have the ability and ultimate responsibility to peacefully transform the crisis in their country into an opportunity for the development of a sustainable democracy. We, therefore, encourage them to exercise their right to vote.
BOCISCOZ urges the Government of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, to conduct the harmonized elections in accordance with the SADC Protocol on Free and Fair Elections.
Issued by BOCISCOZ