Zimbabwe Diaspora Voters’s KwaZulu Natal Declaration

Zimbabweans in the Diaspora met in Durban this weekend on 13 July 2013 at UNISA Main Campus to evaluate methodology they can use to ensure Diaspora participation in the upcoming elections. The Zimbabweans also got a lot of support from South African young people who attended under the banner of Organisation of African Youth (OAYouth).

Zimbabwean Diaspora voters’ noted the lack of political information about the country’s imminent election in the diaspora, the resurgence of violence and the use of repressive legislation used to block rallies by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in particular.

The Diaspora and its South African counterparts also lamented the unwillingness of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to show more independence in registering voters and accrediting observers, also saying that the haste with which the electoral dates were announced was meant to sidestep commitments under the SADC brokered Global Political Agreement and the New Constitution. The groups further raised concerns about the poll’s fairness and credibility, especially as it disenfrinchases over 5 million in the diaspora, and internally, the so-called aliens who have been unable to register.

For the Zimbabweans living in South Africa, this vote brings hope that someday soon they will be able to return home. However, that can only happen if they will have a way of casting their precious vote on 31 July 2013 either in Zimbabwe or in the Diaspora.

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Gabriel Shumba and others versus Zimbabwe recently issued urgent provisional measures to ensure that all Zimbabweans in the Diaspora can vote. ZANU-PF flagrantly rejected the Diaspora vote due to the assumed high numbers of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters outside the country. On the other hand, MDC has also been powerless to ensure the Diaspora, amid concerns that the expatriate vote is vulnerability to rigging. This left some disadvantaged Zimbabwean migrants without any possible way of participating in the important poll.

Refugees that cannot travel to Zimbabwe.

The forum noted that there are Zimbabwean political asylum seekers and refugees who are unable to travel to Zimbabwe to cast their vote, else they would lose their permits in line with the immigration laws of SA. The participants were especially concerned of the circulating fears that the Zimbabwean government can use their names as ghost votes if they don’t participate in the election.

Declaration of Zimbabweans in KwaZulu Natal

•  The participants vow to continue to encourage those can, to travel to Zimbabwe and vote.

•  Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) must seek funding and make available information on any organisation that can fund individuals to travel and vote.

•  Participants committed themselves and encouraged others to be more vocal on social networks, media and other internet platforms in encouraging others to go and vote

•  South African participants committed themselves to be more active in putting pressure on the Zimbabwean and their own government to respect the will of the people and deliver to the citizens the democracy they deserve.

•  Zimbabweans shall check registration on the voters roll before poll date, which is available on www.myzimvote.com In this regard, the groupings will strive to popularise the website within Zimbabwe.

•  Zimbabweans in the Diaspora committed themselves to calling or texting relatives and friends in Zimbabwe to vote, and to report incidents of politically related violence not only to political parties and ZEC, but also to JOMIC and the social network.

•  We thus declare that a poll outcome that does not meet the roadmap of the Global Political Agreement, the New Constitution and the SADC Principles and Guidelines on Free and Fair elections should be resisted by all.

•  South African participants shall be more forceful in campaigning for their neighbours’ future free and fairelections so that democracy is realised all over Africa.

Post published in: Africa News

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