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Let's vote against those blocking diaspora vote

13 Jul 2023 at 07:03hrs | Views
THE Zimbabwe Diaspora Vote Initiative salutes South Africa's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema for urging Zimbabweans living in the neighbouring country to make the trip back home and participate in the harmonised election next month.

More encouraging is the offer by the EFF to those in need of travel assistance to approach the EFF offices.

It is refreshing to hear an African brother encouraging fellow Africans living in the diaspora to vote to decide the governance of their mother countries.

Indeed, many African governments have been affording their nationals living abroad the right to vote from their domiciled countries, and many more are legislating the diaspora vote.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has dismally failed to fulfil his promise to work towards implementing the diaspora vote, a promise he made while attending the United Nations General Assembly in the United States in 2018 soon after being elected as President.

Mnangagwa ignored a letter we wrote to him inquiring about the challenges government was facing in implementing the diaspora vote and offering to help if need be.

He ignored a petition we presented to his offices after a hard copy was couriered to the Zimbabwean ambassador to Australia.

Parliament also ignored a petition we submitted to it on the diaspora vote, and Zanu-PF legislators shot down suggestions for the diaspora vote during the Electoral Amendment Bill debate.

Sitting Zanu-PF legislators have confided in Zimbabwe Diaspora Vote Initiative members that Zanu-PF does not want the diaspora vote because there is a notion within Zanu-PF that diaspora-based Zimbabweans are pro-opposition.

Having been informed by insiders within Zanu-PF that the ruling party will use its parliamentary majority to block the diaspora vote, we have been encouraging those of us who go to Zimbabwe to vote to present our case to the electorate and observer missions, especially African observer missions from countries which offer the diaspora vote, so that they can help us lobby incoming legislators to make legislative changes that provide for diaspora vote.

The offer by Malema, therefore, comes as a fresh breath of air as it enhances our initiative to get Zimbabweans in the diaspora who have been denied their right to vote from their domiciled countries to go home and vote.

We will be consulting colleagues based in South Africa and encourage those who we cannot assist to travel to Zimbabwe to approach EFF for assistance.

Most importantly, we will be approaching Malema and other progressive individuals and organisations based in Africa for their support as we continue to lobby for the diaspora vote for 2028.

While we are a non-partisan organisation, we reiterate our resolve to encourage our friends, relatives and owners and workers at businesses which benefit from the diaspora to vote against those who have denied us our right to vote.

We appeal to them not to vote for Mnangagwa who has been quoted in many places, and even penned articles in appreciation of the economic contribution of Zimbabweans based in the diaspora, but failed to fulfil his promise to have the diaspora vote implemented in the 2023 election.

In one article he wrote in the State media, Mnangagwa emphasised that Zimbabweans living abroad were "equal to, and just as important and as deserving" as their counterparts living in Zimbabwe.

However, we did not see any effort he made to ensure the diaspora vote happened in 2023 as he promised.

Had he made an effort, we could have said he tried, but failed due to circumstances. Zimbabwe needs a President who practises what they promise.

We encourage our families, friends and owners of businesses which benefit from the diaspora remittances and their employees to vote against sitting Zanu-PF legislators who are wishing to extend their terms.

Some of them heckled patriotic pro-diaspora legislators who argued for the diaspora vote during the Electoral Amendment Bill debate. - Zimbabwe Diaspora Vote Initiative

Source - newsday
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