Mr. President, the diaspora vote denial could be your undoing in the 2023 elections

Dear President Mnangagwa,

In 2018, you addressed Zimbabweans in the United States of America on the sidelines of the United Nations General Conference and promised you would work towards achieving a Diaspora vote by 2023. Obviously, the Diaspora vote cannot happen in 2023 as it is too close to elections even if the Electoral Amendment Bill currently being debated will include the Diaspora vote. It is certainly late to register the people in the Diaspora in the remaining short period before elections take place.

However, the arrogance shown by Zanu PF Parliamentarians during the debate is astounding. Chinotimba who I used to respect is seen on video walking around and making noise while Honourable Willas Madzimure was speaking. Chinotimba is heard making the stupid remarks that have been made by other Zanu PF officials such as Obert Gutu and Patrick Chinamasa that sanctions must be removed in order to have the diaspora vote. Let me make it categorically clear that the people in the diaspora are not the ones who applied sanctions on Zimbabwe. The people in the diaspora are a mixed bag in terms of political affiliation. Zanu PF, the MDC, the CCC, and the Patriotic Party of Zimbabwe are among those that have structures in the United Kingdom, the USA, and other countries. As Honourable Madzimure pointed out in his contribution, we even have teachers who were sent to Rwanda through a Government-to-Government arrangement. They are citizens and they need to vote. Every citizen has to be allowed their right to vote.

Mr. President, it makes many believe that you were not sincere when you called for the diaspora vote when you addressed Zimbabweans. If you were sincere, you could have instructed your MPs to debate in favor of the diaspora vote. If I may ask you, Mr. President, were you sincere when you promised Zimbabweans living abroad that efforts would be made to have the diaspora vote in 2023?

Most embarrassing, there were Mozambican parliamentarians in the gallery when this debate was going on, and it is very interesting to know what impression about human rights they go back to their country with when Mozabicans based in Zimbabwe are provided facilities to vote in Mozambican elections, a true example of the diaspora vote happen in Southern Africa.

The Diaspora vote now seems to be an election issue that has the potential to contribute to Zanu PF’s defeat. It adds to the list of your failures, and the general public can easily be made to see that you were trying to hoodwink the world into believing that you are a pro-democracy leader.

Even though the diaspora citizens may not be able to vote this year, the law must be changed to accommodate diaspora vote now. At least, Mr. President, you can tick a box to say I promised the diaspora vote, and at least the law is in place, as part of your campaign for 2023.

I saw video clips of other spirited presentations by Honourable Charton Hwende, Honourable Bvondo, Honourable Chibaya, and I felt these are the pro-people MPs who deserve re-election. They really did the Zimbabwean diaspora community proud.

In conclusion, let me warn you, Mr. President, that the diaspora vote denial may be the undoing for you and your party in the 2023 elections as the millions of Zimbabweans based in the diaspora can influence their families who they support to vote you out. Forewarned is forearmed.

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