BY SHARON BUWERIMWE
THE opposition MDC Alliance has claimed that the ruling Zanu PF party is scared of the diaspora vote as it could be a game changer in the country’s 2023 elections, hence the decision to keep them out of the electoral processes.
Zimbabwe has an estimated four million people living in the diaspora who have not been participating in electoral processes since the turn of the millennium.
The ruling Zanu PF party has fiercely opposed the diaspora vote with party bigwigs insisting that they would only be allowed to vote after the West has lifted sanctions on Harare.
MDC Alliance secretary for diaspora, Clifford Hlatywayo, yesterday accused Zanu PF of deliberately blocking Zimbabweans in the diaspora from voting, saying this was an indication of the ruling party’s fear of electoral loss in the 2023 elections.
“Government is getting remittances from the diaspora but it is not allowing them to vote. The Constitution of Zimbabwe gives all citizens equal opportunities and the right to vote. We are emphasising on the issue of diaspora engagement and participation,” Hlatywayo said.
He said the diasporans fled the country for a number of reasons including the biting economic crisis, human rights abuses and political persecution, among other reasons.
“They ran away from Zanu PF’s brutality and lack of employment. A majority of youths are not employed, and that’s why we are experiencing the issues of thugs and drugs abuse. They are not doing this by choice but because of poverty,” he said.
Both Zanu PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa and the party’s information director Tafadzwa Mugwadi could not be reached for comment as they were not answering calls.
Political analyst Rashweat Mukundu said people in the diaspora were disgruntled by the poor governance
systems in Zimbabwe and were unlikely to vote for the ruling party.
“It’s a legitimate call by MDC Alliance. Zimbabweans in the diaspora have remained the citizens of this country, and they have a stake in its future. They are supporting us economically. It’s just that Zanu PF fears that people in the diaspora may vote it out, and that’s why it is banning them from participating in elections. Again, it is manipulating a number of young people who can register to vote by making it a big process to access identity cards. So, it’s a multiple strategy by Zanu PF,” Mukundu said.