Diaspora Vote Bill conspicuous by its absence from EDs Parliament agenda

Dear Mr. Speaker Sir

As someone who has been pushing for the Diaspora Bill for a while, I had expected the President of Zimbabwe, Comrade Emmerson Mnangagwa, to include the Diaspora Bill among the over  a dozen Bills that he announced when he officially opened the ninth Parliament for its first session earlier this month (September 2018).

I had every reason to think so given that President Mnangagwa had assured Zimbabweans in the Diaspora that he met when he toured some countries in the first quarter of 2018 that logistics to allow for the Diaspora vote would be put in place after the 2018 elections, which are now behind us. President Mnangagwa gave these assurances to Zimbabweans in Botswana, in Namibia and in Rwanda among other countries. I was shocked, therefore, when no mention was made about the Diaspora Vote  when he came up with the legislative agenda.  To me, that gives an impression that the Diaspora vote is something that he just thinks of when he has been cornered by Diaspora Zimbabweans dying for an opportunity to vote. It is something that he only says to placate the international community and the Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, but never takes the lead in taking the necessary steps to ensure the Diaspora Vote is implemented.

To you all Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, let me warn you that if you snooze you lose – demand your right to vote, and create conditions which make the country ungovernable if the President Comrade Mnangagwa does not officially address the Diaspora vote issue. Knowing him the way I do, Comrade Mnangagwa may want to buy time, and towards the 2023 elections, tell you that we have had a lot of very pressing issues to address, and will ask you to look at the “achievements” that his administration will have achieved. But I would want to encourage you to reflect on the promises made by our dear President before the elections regarding the Diaspora vote and juxtapose it with the legislative agenda that he has just rolled out and make a good assessment of the Dear President, who I think earned the nickname Garwe (Crocodile) because of his propensity to deceive.

My opinion piece wouldn’t be complete if I don’t acknowledge the brilliant presentation by Dan Moyo who told Comrade Mnangagwa in the face after sneaking into a meeting secretly organised for Zanu PF supporters, a significant number of them wearing the ED Pfee scarfs, to meet with the Dear President during his trip to the United Nations Congress. Well done Comrade Moyo, how I wish we had many more like you in every country outside Zimbabwe where we have a good concentration of Zimbabweans – but maybe we do, time will tell. Comrade Moyo’s presentation must have come as a reminder to our Dear President that he had reneged on his election promise that logistical arrangements will be put in place for Zimbabwe’s first Ambassadors, if I may borrow a term from our Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo, to vote in 2023. First things first Dear President.

Our fellow Africans from Ghana vote in their country’s elections as was raised by Comrade Moyo. Our neighbours Mozambique has its citizens abroad voting in their national elections, and Botswana and South Africa are busy registering their nationals living outside their borders for elections to take place in those two countries in 2019. Those from Rwanda who are living abroad voted recently – so why not Zimbabweans

Those countries which our Dear President is trying to win into doing business in Zimbabwe who he is misleading into believing that his administration is any different from that of Mugabe must read into these contradictions in what our Dear President says and what he does and think twice before accepting his promises as legitimate. And the country’s First Ambassadors must also help tell the true story about Zimbabwe in their various domiciled countries.

I call upon you, Mr. Speaker Sir, Comrade Jacob Mudenda, to remind our Dear President of the importance of the Diaspora Vote, and to do whatever is in your authority to ensure that a Bill to enable the Diaspora vote by 2013 goes through the parliamentary process soonest.

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