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Chamisa identifies diaspora vote as key reform before any future election

by Staff reporter
29 Jan 2020 at 20:40hrs | Views
MDC leader Nelson Chamisa has identified the diaspora vote as a key reform which he wants implemented before any future election.

Chamisa says millions of Zimbabweans abroad should be given a vote.

The diaspora vote is part of a cocktail of reforms the MDC is pushing for in a draft amendment of the Electoral Act, which the party hopes to table for debate soon.

The MDC will also demand a complete reconfiguration of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), which is accused of being partisan and running elections in an opaque manner.

Chamisa used his ‘Agenda 2020' address to the nation on January 21 to flag the diaspora vote as one of his red line reform items on which they will not compromise.

"We are going to launch our alternative electoral bill detailing the reforms Zimbabweans are demanding. This bill is ready and has already been finalised by our elections department," Chamisa told supporters in Mbare.

"We're going to fight very hard for the diaspora vote. The diaspora vote is very important. We have four million Zimbabweans in the diaspora on account of economic and political circumstances. That vote must be fought for."

Chamisa said President Emmerson Mnangagwa had already committed himself to a diaspora vote during a trip to Davos in January 2018.

When asked during an interview if Zimbabweans outside the country would be allowed to vote, Mnangagwa responded: "Totally. Anybody who is above the age of 18, and is a citizen … you're allowed to vote."

Chamisa said "not only was the diaspora vote promised to this nation, but it is the right of every citizen."

He added: "My opposite number in Zanu-PF made various assurances while on the election campaign trail and even after in 2018 that once elections were concluded, mechanisms would be put in place to ensure the diaspora vote. To date, no steps have been taken to make this a reality.

"They are quick to look for diaspora money and skills but show no interest in giving the diaspora their right to truly influence the direction of Zimbabwe."

There are no accurate figures of how many Zimbabweans live outside the country, although there is consensus that there are well over a million, most of them living in neighbouring South Africa. Chamisa estimated there are four million Zimbabweans who have left the country, most of them seeking employment opportunities.

The MDC says it also wants constituency boundaries to be redrawn.

"There must be a link between the delimitation process and census data to ensure transparently and a level playing field to avoid gerrymandering or manipulation of boundaries," said Chamisa.

The MDC does not have a two thirds majority in parliament necessary to force legislative changes, and hopes that there would be sufficient outside pressure from regional countries to nudge Mnangagwa to the negotiating table with his opposition rival where an agreement can be reached on the key reforms.

Chamisa said he is prepared to refuse to participate in a future election where the reforms are not implemented.

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Source - zimlive