Source: Govt ill-treating its diaspora citizens –Newsday Zimbabwe
RECENT legislative developments in Zimbabwe portray the government as being only interested in its diaspora-based citizens when it wants them to contribute to the country’s economic development and monitoring them for perceived unpatriotic activities while in foreign land, but not enabling them to enjoy their rights as the country’s citizens.
Two legislative amendment Bills have been brought before Parliament. One Bill completely ignores the rights of citizens living abroad not working for government, while the other wants to punish the same citizens for unpatriotic behaviour.
Despite promises by President Emmerson Mnangagwa that he would do his best to ensure that diasporans would vote in 2023, the Electoral Amendment Bill does not come with sections to allow the Zimbabweans based abroad to vote.
It is nearly five years since Mnangagwa made that promise. One would have thought that with the widely publicised praise for diaspora-based citizens by the President, who has described diaspora-based citizens as “equal to, and just as important and as deserving” as citizens based in Zimbabwe, the Bill would have accommodated citizens based in the diaspora.
While the Electoral Amendment Bill turns a blind eye to the diaspora’s voting rights, a proposed edition to the Criminal Law Code Amendment Bill (The Patriotic Bill) states that any citizen or permanent resident of Zimbabwe who, within or outside Zimbabwe, actively participates in any meeting in which he knows or reasonably believes the object of the meeting involves the consideration of or planning armed intervention, to subvert or overthrow government or implement sanctions or trade boycott against Zimbabwe will be found guilty of damaging the sovereignty and national interest of Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwe Diaspora Vote Initiative’s concern is that the law must be applied equally to all citizens, whether they are resident in Zimbabwe or not.
If, in the course of drafting the Criminal Law Code Amendment Bill, government realised that there are Zimbabweans living abroad, they should equally have remembered that there are over five millions living abroad during the drafting of the Electoral Amendment Bill.
Legislation around voting should similarly treat citizens equally whether they are based in Zimbabwe or outside the country.
Pretty simple folks. Despite illustrious “ED’S” so called promises, those of us who live overseas are NEVER going to get a vote (for what it would be worth)! We left to get away from ZANU style democracy and now (especially our children) are not really interested thank you. All Ed and Eddie are interested is the money we have been able to earn – “out of Zimbabwe”- not rocket science.