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Hichilema must push Zimbabwe diaspora vote case

01 Feb 2023 at 07:42hrs | Views
YOUR Excellency

President Hakainde Hichilema,


Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security

The Zimbabwe diaspora vote, a grouping of Zimbabweans living outside Zimbabwe, congratulates you on the occasion of your taking over as chairperson for the Sadc Organ on Politics and Defence.

We are confident that your term will see further improvement in the political environment in the region, based on the impressive reforms we have witnessed in Zambia since you took over as President of that country.

We hope that you will positively influence your peers in the region to be firm on fulfilling promises they make to the electorate.

In the case of the Zimbabwean citizens living in the diaspora, we were relieved and filled with praise for our President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, when he, in September 2018, told Zimbabweans living in the United States that he would work hard to ensure that Zimbabweans living in the diaspora would exercise their constitutional right to vote in 2023.

However, the Electoral Amendment Bill which is to be debated in Parliament almost at the same time as you take office, does not include amendments to allow the diaspora vote.

The Bill is a Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs ministry Bill.

Ironically, the Justice ministry reports to the Presidency, giving an impression that the President has been derailed from his vision by his subordinates.

The failure to include the diaspora vote in the Electoral Amendment Bill contradicts Mnangagwa's declared policy of leaving no one out, and his recognition of the citizens living in the diaspora.

In an article he personally penned in a national newspaper, Mnangagwa correctly pointed out that diaspora remittances had surpassed the US$1 billion mark, making the Zimbabwean diaspora community "a veritable factor in national development, indeed a force for greater good".

In that article, he described citizens living in the diaspora as "equal to, and just as important and as deserving" as citizens living in Zimbabwe.

Why then has the President's juniors not factored the diaspora vote in crafting the Electoral Amendment Bill?

We humbly and kindly appeal to you to present our case to Sadc and encourage our President, who we believe may not have received our correspondence and petition, to exercise his Executive authority and direct the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs ministry to draft the necessary amendments to the legislation and/or Constitution to make practical his promise to implement the diaspora vote in 2023 to fulfil our right to vote contained in sections 56(1), 67(3a) and 155(1c) of the Constitution.

The Zimbabwe Diaspora Vote Initiative looks forward to a fruitful engagement with the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security.

Rosewiter Mangiroza
Zimbabwe Diaspora Vote
Initiative chair

Source - Newsday Zimbabwe
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