Some Government of Zimbabwe officials, led by non-other than his Excellence, the President, Comrade Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, promised Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora that preparations will be made to enable them to vote in future elections after 2018. Addressing Zimbabweans living in Namibia in January 2018 on the prospects of them voting in the 2018 harmonised elections, President Emmerson Mnangagwa told them, “We do not have the logistics now or the capacity.” Later in March 2018, President Mnangagwa told Zimbabweans living in Rwanda that it was not possible for Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to vote from their domiciled countries “because the government does not have resources to set up polling stations in their host countries”. President Mnangagwa repeated the same words on various other trips abroad where he had the opportunity to address Zimbabweans.
Later in the year when he went to the United Nations General Assembly, Comrade Mnangagwa addressed Zimbabweans in the United States, telling them, as accurately reported by The Herald, that a vote for Diasporans may well have been implemented for the recent 2018 elections – but his government “had not had enough time to thrash out all the attendant logistical issues”. President Mnangagwa told the gathering that Government was looking into the logistical issues between now and the next elections in 2023 to allow Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to vote.
But before the elections, the now late Minister of Foreign Affairs had indicated that the Government had been preparing for the Diaspora vote to happen in the 2018 election, as reported by CGTN on 17 April 2018. That was obviously too ambitious given the amount of work that needed to be done, but it sent the message that there was genuine interest in addressing the diaspora vote question as a matter of urgency.
On 6 October 2019, The Sunday Mail reported that the Minister of Justice, Ziyambi Ziyambi promised what could be a major overhaul of the local voting system where the Government was to assess the feasibility of introducing Diaspora voting to Zimbabweans living in foreign lands. Perhaps Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi may need to update Zimbabweans what progress has been made in this regard as we approach 2023.
Despite the premises by the Leader of Government and several senior officials, the Secretary for information and Publicity, Mr. Nick poured cold water on the possibility of diaspora vote, saying that Zanu PF would be disadvantaged as their officials would not be able to campaign in some countries where their officials are on targetted sanctions. However, it is public knowledge that Zanu PF has structures in every country where they have supporters in the world. The President must demonstrate that he is not one who can be swayed by small players such as Nick Mangwana at the expense of his own reputation, which he is slowly but sure soiling through taking advice from discredited personalities like Nick Mangwana, who until his appointment to Government, living and worked in the United Kingdom, and is said to have secured permanent residence in the United Kingdom.
I salute Chief Kayisa Ndiweni for the work that he is doing to push for the Diaspora vote. His efforts must be supported by Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora. Diasporans must ask the President to fulfil his promise for the Diaspora vote. In my opinion, the Zimbabweans in the Diaspora must write to the President, deliver their letter through the respective embasses, reminding the President of is 2018 – 2019 promises as he addressed people in the Diaspora. That letter could be copied to the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the respective countries so that they know that Zimbabweans living in their countries want their President to fulfil his 2018 election promises, asking them to assist should logistics be required.
I call upon parliamentarians across the political divide to move a motion in Parliament to implement what the President has promised the Diaspsora, who have contributed immensely to the economic being of the Zimbabwe. The Sunday Mail of 21 March 2021 ran an editor’s brief which saluted the Diasporans for this role. Such patriotic Zimbabweans need to be acknowledged by giving them their right to vote.
I call upon members of the cabinet to seriously consider the consequences of the country failing to fulfil the Presidential promise of the Diaspora vote. We still have time to have the appropriate amendments to legislation made to ensure the Diaspora vote in 2023.
I also call upon the Southern African Development Community, the African Union and the United Nations to review President Mnangagwa’s Diaspora vote promises with a view to exerting their influence on the Zimbabwean leader to get processes speeded to ensure the Diaspora vote in 2023.
1. President Mnangagwa promises logistics will be put in place for Diaspora vote in future elections https://www.
zimbabwesituation.com/news/ mnangagwa-no-diaspora-vote- come-back-home/
3. Foreign (16 January 2018) Zimbabwean president says no capacity for diaspora vote
Zimbabwean president says no capacity for diaspora vote
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday said that Zimbabwe does not have the capacity to facilitate i…
4. The Herald (25 September 2018) https://www.herald.co.
5. Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Hon Ziyambi Ziyambi promises work to implement diaspora vote Govt
6. Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Sibusiso Moyo says Zimbabwe will allow diaspora participation in election Zimbabwe to allow diaspora participation in election https://africa.cgtn.
com/2018/04/17/zimbabwe-to- allow-diaspora-participation- in-election/