ZDVI Urges Zimbabwe's Parliament To Amend Laws To Allow Diaspora Voting Rights

1 week ago
Tue, 19 Sep 2023 09:39:52 GMT
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ZDVI Urges Zimbabwe's Parliament To Amend Laws To Allow Diaspora Voting Rights

The Zimbabwe Diaspora Vote Initiative (ZDVI) has called upon the 10th parliament of Zimbabwe to advocate for changes in the Electoral Amendment Act, allowing Zimbabweans living abroad to participate in general elections.

ZDVI congratulated the recently sworn-in parliamentarians and urged them to amend laws that grant voting rights to Zimbabweans working at the country’s embassies while denying the same right to other diaspora residents.

The organisation argued that Zimbabweans in the diaspora, who contribute to the country’s economy through remittances, should have the opportunity to vote. Recent statistics indicate a significant increase in diaspora remittances, highlighting their economic impact. In a statement, ZDVI spokesperson Padmore Kufa argued:

We would like to extend a special message to those who were not present when the Electoral Amendment Act was debated during the last parliament during which the need for diaspora votes was raised.

Hopefully, the diaspora vote requirement will be incorporated into the new law as the debate continues.

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We believe that as every constituency in Zimbabwe has someone who has left for the Diaspora, it should be in the interests of every member of parliament to ensure that the citizens from their constituency based in the diaspora are accorded an opportunity to participate in the Zimbabwean electoral process in the same way as Zimbabweans based in the Diaspora working at the Embassies are allowed to vote.

Who are contributing to the economic development of the country while working for different employers. It is segregation to give rights to some Zimbabweans in the diaspora while leaving out others living in the same geographical region.

ZDVI has highlighted that a significant portion of remittances is sent by individuals who are denied their constitutional right to vote. The initiative predicts that the number of Zimbabweans working abroad will continue to increase as more seek better opportunities elsewhere.

The organisation said the existing legislation, which permits only embassy workers to vote while denying the same right to other Zimbabweans in the same country, violates the constitutional provision granting every citizen the right to vote. Therefore, the current legislation must be amended to allow both embassy workers and other diaspora residents to exercise their voting rights.

The ZANU PF government has so far refused to allow the diaspora vote, citing logistical challenges and concerns of potential electoral manipulation. 

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