Mnangagwa challenged to honour Diaspora Vote promise made in 2018

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By Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWEANS in diaspora have written to President Mnangagwa urging him to desist from signing the Electoral Amendment Bill if it blocks them from participating in the upcoming general elections.

In a letter addressed to Mnangagwa, the Zimbabwe Diaspora Initiative (ZDI), implored the Zanu PF first secretary to live up to the promise of allowing a diaspora vote he made in 2018 while speaking at a  United Nations General Conference in New York.

“Before the 2018 announcement in New York, you had, during your meetings with Zimbabwean citizens living in the diaspora prior to the 2018 elections, told the citizens that there was not enough time and resources for the country to prepare for the diaspora vote for the 2018 elections, but encouraged those who could to return to the country to vote and the diaspora vote would be addressed in elections after 2018,” read the letter.

According to ZDI, Mnangagwa is obligated by the constitution to guard the rights of every Zimbabwean, including the right to vote.

“We were dismayed when we saw the glaring omission of provisions for the Diaspora Vote in the Bill, and we realised that the omission negates your commitment to have the diaspora vote implemented,” said the group.

In reference to an article by the President published in the state controlled Sunday Mail, ZDI acknowledged Mnangagwa’s candidness in embracing the diaspora community and the role they play in the development of the country.

“We remain committed to our homeland, as we continue to build homes for our families in the country, and for ourselves when we come back home. You correctly pointed out that our remittances have surpassed the $1 billion mark, making the Zimbabwean Diaspora community ‘a veritable factor in national development, indeed a force for greater good’.

“You described these citizens as ‘equal to, and just as important and as deserving’ as our counterparts who are back in Zimbabwe,” ZDI said.

As part of sanitizing the Zimbabwean brand, Mnangagwa has been on an engagement and re-engagement drive which according to ZDI will be dented if he fails to prove that his government was turning the tide of fake promises around.

“It does not give a good image of yourself and the country if you do not take steps to attempt to fulfil your promise to work towards ensuring the diaspora vote by 2023.”

Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Ziyambi Ziyambi is on record saying the diaspora community will not be allowed to vote since there are no Zimbabwean constituencies in their areas of residence.

According to ZDI, Zimbabweans working at different embassies are allowed to vote yet they reside outside the country.

The group also highlighted that currently there is no legislation in place which allows for embassy workers to vote but the Zanu PF government allows them to participate in the general plebiscite.

“Ironically, Zimbabweans working in Embassies can vote, yet there is no constitutional provision which says only the Zimbabweans working at embassies abroad should vote while those working for other organisations but living in the same country should not vote.”