Once again I am thankful for you for your positive response to my request to make a written emailed submission to the parliamentary hearings on Zimbabwean elections. I did make my submission which I copied to the Speaker of Parliament and the Chairperson of the relevant portfolio committee.
Now, before even getting acknowledgement of receipt of my submission, I read in The Herald the Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Election Commission saying that “people in the Diaspora will be able to vote as long as they come back to Zimbabwe on voting day and can vote from their wards”. She goes on to justify that by saying that because the biometric voter registration required pictures and fingerprints, so it can only be done in Zimbabwe.
But we have embassies in almost every country where there is a significant number of Zimbabweans. Why can we not use embassies toÂ do those processes which Justice Makarau wants us to come to Zimbabwe to do? Embassies processes our passport and other relevant documents applications, so I wonder why the same cannot be done with voter registration?
A follow up story also inÂ The Herald quoted Justice Makarau saying “Whether we will be able to make them vote in the Diaspora, quite a few things must happen and one of them is that the Electoral Act must be aligned to the constitution and provide the mechanism through which the Diaspora vote will be administered…until there is that legal framework governing the Diaspora vote, people in the Diaspora will not be able to vote”. Fair enough, laws must be aligned, but we are talking about an election that should take place in 2018 everything being equal. Who is responsible for pushing for the alignment of the laws? Shouldn’t aligning the electoral law with the constitution to allowÂ the Diaspora vote be a priority knowing well as we do that happy Diasporas have aÂ potential to bring economic prosperity to the country?
It is known that the Diasporas remit money to the country that is sustaining the country. Most of that money is remitted to support struggling families left back in Zimbabwe; and more couldÂ be remitted for investment purposes if the Diaspora were happy. As it is, theÂ Diasporas are sceptical investing because they, among other issues they will have with Government, is that they are not allowed to exercise their constitutional right to choose a leader of their own. They would be more trusting if they had an opportunity to choose the leaders who will create policies in the country they are investing in. Zimbabwe could certainly benefit in a much bigger way if it created a conducive atmosphere devoid of mistrust in the Diaspora community. Quite a few Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora are business minded and have set up businesses in their countries of domicile, andÂ I have had a few regretting not being comfortable investing in their own country of origin, which would have been a priority for them.
If we all love our mother country Zimbabwe, let us all do things that will make that country to prosper, including prioritising the interests of people living abroad but have the potentialÂ to invest in their home country and improve the lives of Zimbabweans.
I look forward to reading the report of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and be able to identify this input and my previous input in it some time soon.
References for media below:
No Ghost voters in 2018: ZEC http://www.herald.co.zw/no-
Diaspora: The vote and inclusion http://www.herald.co.zw/