Calls for diaspora vote grow louder

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By Staff Reporter

CALLS are growing louder for a constitutional amendment to allow for diaspora vote ahead of next year’s general elections.

Former Ntabazinduna Chief, Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni, added his influential voice to the calls saying unless the more than five million Zimbabweans domiciled in the diaspora are allowed to vote, the election would be a nullity.

His calls come at a time Zanu PF, diametrically opposed to diaspora vote, is persecuting Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda after he indicated he was an avid supporter of diaspora vote and openly called on government to spearhead the necessary statutory amendments.

Zanu PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa last week said the Speaker had crossed the line.

Government is under pressure from civic groups and opposition parties to allow diasporans  to vote in next year’s polls.

Ndiweni, who is the chairperson of MyRight2Vote pressure group, based in the United Kingdom, said holding an election without citizens based in foreign lands would render the outcome illegitimate.

“As a person who has been complaining about diaspora voting, this is a burning issue. It is a human right to be allowed to vote. About 5,5 million Zimbabweans in the diaspora have been denied their right to vote. To make things worse, this human right was promised during the war of liberation by Zanu PF, by Zapu,” Ndiweni said.

“So, we have a deep historical basis for demanding this right because wherever we look, this right was given and it has been taken from the Zimbabwean populace in the diaspora. The population in the diaspora is nearly 50% of the voting population in Zimbabwe. This is a formidable percentage,” he said.

“As MyRight2Vote, we are working very hard in preparation for the results night so that we put things in place to force the whole process to a standstill so that the diaspora vote is included,” he added.

Soon after the disputed July 2018 harmonised elections, observer missions called on the government to facilitate postal voting for every Zimbabwean abroad as guaranteed under section 67 of the Constitution but Zanu PF has thrown spanners on the way.