Zimbabweans living in Diaspora have nothing to do with sanctions

They deserve their right to vote - Open letter to President Mnangagwa

Dear President Mnangagwa,

As the diaspora vote debate hots up, I bumped into an article in which your Zanu PF’s then Political Commissar Patrick Chinamasa told a press conference that “If you want a diaspora vote, first level the playing field by removing sanctions, so that Zanu PF can go there and campaign freely without being vetted against sanctions”. However, when you addressed the Zimbabweans living in the United States of America on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, you made it abundantly clear that Government would work towards ensuring that Zimbabweans living in the diaspora would be able to vote in 2023. I suppose Comrade Chinamasa was being mischievous as he cannot go against the Head of State and Government’s decisions in his capacity as Acting Political Commissar of a political party.

Zimbabweans living in the diaspora cannot be sanctioned by preventing them to vote just because the European Union, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe. That is a crime against humanity, and I would encourage the Zimbabweans living in the diaspora to petition SADC, the SADC Parliamentary Forum, the African Union, the Pan-African Parliament, and the United Nations against such measures if you, Your Excellency, are prevented from progressing with your promise to work towards implementing the Diaspora vote in 2023, a promise made on United Nations soil.

Mr. Chinamasa forgets that your party even some within its ranks who are British Citizens – Nick Mangwana and probably several others based in the United Kingdom who form part of Zanu PF’s active structures in the United Kingdom. The party has representation in the United States of America some of whom you addressed in 2018, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and many other countries. If the issue is about being not able to campaign in the United States of America and parts of Europe, why not say there will be no diaspora vote in those countries which have applied sanctions on Zimbabwe? Why would one want to sanction Zimbabweans living in SADC when Zimbabwe itself is a member of SADC? Why would one want to sanction Zimbabweans living in Africa when Zimbabwe is a member of the African Union? Why would one sanction Zimbabweans living in China after the Chinese Government has built a parliament for Zimbabwe? The few Zimbabweans living in China also deserve the opportunity to cast their votes for members of parliament who will go into the newly built parliament?

Other countries in SADC and Africa allow their citizens to vote in the diaspora. Interestingly, Your Excellency, you were in China when the President of Rwanda cast his vote in China when some African leaders traveled to China for the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). You may have noticed that Rwanda gives its citizens in the Diaspora the right to vote. Zimbabwean Government facilitates voting for other African countries such as Mozambique. Why should Zimbabweans in the Diaspora be barred from voting?

Your Excellency, what legacy will you leave behind if you are one who is arm-twisted by the likes of Patrick Chinamasa, Christopher Mutsvanga who enjoys holidays in countries that have applied sanctions on Zimbabwe, Goerge Charamba, and a handful of others? If you are a listening President, you must listen to the voice of the diaspora Zimbabweans who want to vote from their domiciled countries just like many other African citizens based in the diaspora. How will the Zimbabweans trust a President who promises one thing, and is overruled by a mere political party?

It is my sincere hope, Your Excellency, that you will live to your word on the diaspora vote. I also appeal to right-minded Zanu PF. Please listen more to the Speaker of Parliament, Advocate Jacob Mudenda who recently said he was frustrated at the delays being made to amend the laws to allow the diaspora vote.

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