BY SILAS NKALA
United KINGDOM-BASED Zimbabwean pressure group, MyRight2Vote, led by the dethroned Ntabazinduna Chief Felix Ndiweni has started registering Zimbabweans in the diaspora in an effort to pressure government to allow them to vote in the 2023 general elections.
Various pressure groups have been pushing for Zimbabweans in the diaspora to be allowed to vote, but President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has refused, recently setting the removal of sanctions by the West as a pre-condition for diasporans to exercise their voting rights.
In a statement over the weekend, MyRight2Vote noted that the diaspora vote should have been completely implemented and ring-fenced by the government 41 years ago when the country became independent.
“Such a state of affairs cannot remain indefinitely. To this end, MyRight2Vote has begun the registration process of the whole Zimbabwean diaspora for immediate electronic voting, from wherever they are in the world, when ready,” the statement read.
“MyRight2Vote will independently facilitate this electoral process for the Zimbabwean diaspora, when the next elections are called. MyRight2Vote is not a political party and does not get involved in partisan politics. MyRight2Vote is independent and is registered in the United Kingdom and is not working with the Zimbabwean Election Commission (Zec) or the current government.”
The statement added: “Zanu and Zapu during the war of independence pledged that they stood for unconditional universal suffrage, one-man, one-vote. MyRight2Vote stands by this pledge and is implementing it to the diaspora and within Zimbabwe.”
The group said it also registers Zimbabweans in Zimbabwe who find it difficult to register with Zec and their concern was that the Zimbabwean diaspora community has been excluded from polls for 41 years. According to the laws of the country, only Zec was given the mandate to register voters and manage the voters’ roll.
But the rights group said it would push for the exclusion of Zimbabwe from the United Nations if it continues to deny voting rights to its citizens in the diaspora.
Zimbabwe, which had only 4,8 million people voting in the 2018 general elections, is estimated to have over five million of its citizens in the diaspora who were denied the right to vote. The pressure group accused Mnangagwa’s government of blocking its citizens from voting, fearing that those in the diaspora would account to 50% of the country’s registered voters, and would not vote for it.