On 25 September 2018, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa addressed Zimbabweans based in the United States of America on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly and promised that Government was working on mechanisms to ensure that they can vote from their domiciled countries in the 2023 harmonized elections. It is not publicly known what preparations have been made so far following the announcements by President Mnangagwa, apart from the contents of a 2019 in which Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi reported that an international study was to be commissioned to determine whether Zimbabweans could vote from their domiciled countries in future elections.
The next official statement on the diaspora vote has attracted brickbats from colleagues within Zanu PF was by the Speaker of Parliament, Advocate Jacob Mudenda who told parliamentarians at a workshop on electoral reforms organized by the Zimbabwe Electoral Network (ZESN) that the Electoral Act and the Constitution needed to be amended to allow the Diaspora vote. However, Government Official, who is not supposed to dabble in partisan politics and some Zanu PF parliamentarians are up in arms with Advocate Mudenda for giving precise details as to what has to be done to fulfill President Mnangagwa’s promise to the Zimbabwean citizens living abroad.
One then questions the sincerity of the President and the Minister of Justice in their pronouncement about the diaspora vote. Were they grandstanding to mislead the international community that Zimbabwe was a constitutional democracy? It sounds like they were. But why did George Charamba and the Zanu PF officials who threatened Advocate Mudenda not equally attack President Mnangagwa and the Justice Minister who announced plans to work towards enabling the diaspora vote before Advocate Mudenda? Is it because he comes from Matebeleland?
Advocate Mudenda should never be intimidated by the evil intentions of Goerge Charamba and some misguided Zanu PF members of parliament and officials. He must do whatever he can in his capacity as Speaker of Parliament to ensure that Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora are accorded their right to vote. We are with you all the way, Advocate Mudenda.
I call upon the South African Development Community, the African Union, and the United Nations to seriously consider advising the Government of Zimbabwe to take the diaspora vote seriously. Other African countries are allowing their citizens living abroad to vote, and Zimbabweans living abroad deserve the same.
Finally, Zimbabweans in the Diaspora are encouraged to demand their right to vote from the Zimbabwean Government. They contribute significantly to the economy, and they need to be accorded their right but should claim it if the irresponsible authorities deny them.Post published in: Featured