Earlier this year, I informed you that there would be held a constitutional referendum in Zimbabwe this March. The outcome was positive and the Zimbabwean people have agreed on a new constitution. The referendum was only one step out of several others agreed upon in the roadmap to democratic elections in the South African country as foreseen in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and negotiated with the SADC and the main Zimbabwean parties. Elections shall be held this year and consultations about the date are currently under way.
So how does the outcome look like? Little surprising, the new constitution has been approved by the majority of the electorate. A huge a majority of 95% of the votes were in favor of the new constitution. Also, more than half of the six million eligible voters went to the ballots. While the high number of approval is not very surprising given that the proposed draft had been supported by the two large Zimbabwean parties, ZANU-PF and MDC, one needs to say on a more positive note that the number of electoral participation was higher than expected. Remember, the process was overshadowed by political tensions, politically motivated violence, and the exclusion of NGO and media representatives.