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Legislative, logistical challenges stalling diaspora vote

by Stephen Jakes
24 Oct 2021 at 12:46hrs | Views
The Zimbabwe's Consul General to Johannesburg, South Africa, Melody Chaurura has blamed the legislative and logistical challenges in the country as currently stalling the possibility of the Diaspora community to participate in the elections but urged the citizens to visit the country to register and vote.

Chaurura revealed this last week during the Southern African Liaison Office (SALO) virtual discussion on the issue of the diaspora vote in 2023 Zimbabwe general election.

"On the diaspora vote, I would like to acknowledge that this has been an issue of intense debate and contestation among the Zimbabweans in the diaspora and the relevant stakeholders across the Zimbabwean political spectrum. It is important to clearly communicate that it is the desire of the Zimbabwean government to afford every Zimbabweans including those in the diaspora, an opportunity to participate in the country's electoral processes," Chaurura said.

She said there is an unblemished understanding that the diaspora community is a key player in the country's social, political and economic development as demonstrated in the country's national development strategy (NDS1), which places the diaspora community among the key pillars of development.

"It should be, however, understood that it has not been possible to accord diaspora vote due to legislative and logistical challenges which are yet to be overcome. We keep the hope that once these issues have been resolved by the concerned parties, the Zimbabweans in the diaspora would be able to cast their votes from their countries of residence," she said.

She said it is important to safeguard and guarantee the credibility of any election as a way to ensure sustainable peace and development.

Chaurura said to this end it is important to allow due processes to take place towards the finalization of the legislative provisions and consensus building among all players involved including political parties.

She challenged the Zimbabweans in the diaspora to travel to Zimbabwe to register to vote and also participate in the 2023 elections, noting that the registration is done back home at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) offices in various parts of the country.

SA is home to an estimated over three million Zimbabweans both illegal and legal residents in that country who will be seriously affected by this expiry of the documents.

The remarks by Chaurura came at a time when at United Kingdom based pressure group, MyRight2Vote led by the dethroned Ntabazinduna Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Felix Ndiweni has revealed that it has started registering all Zimbabweans in the diaspora in an effort to pressure government to allow them to vote for the 350 seats and Presidency.

Government has been against the diaspora votes despite its commitment to call for diaspora remittance back into the country.

The group noted that in the 2018 Zimbabwean elections, only 4.8 million people voted, yet at that very same time, there were over 5 million plus Zimbabweans in the diaspora denied the vote with SA having the largest number.

Source - Byo24News