Diaspora Vote denial still under wraps

via Court reasoning for Diaspora Vote denial still under wraps | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell September 16, 2013

The Constitutional Court is yet to provide any reasoning for its decision to dismiss an application that was seeking to allow Zimbabweans in the Diaspora the right to vote, which analysts have said casts even more doubt on the credibility of the July polls.

The case was filed by South African based Zimbabwean citizen Tawengwa Bukaibenyu last year, in a bid to secure his right and the rights of other Zimbabweans to vote. His case challenged the barring of postal ballots for exiled Zimbabweans, which he said violated his right to choose his country’s government.

The then Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede opposed the application arguing that the process of allowing Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to vote was prohibitively costly and a burden to the economy.

The case was then dismissed by the Constitutional Court just weeks before the general elections on July 31st, with no reasons being given. The decision effectively prevented millions of Zimbabweans, who now live in Diaspora communities around the world, a chance to cast their votes.

The decision is also at odds with a provisional order handed down in February 2013 by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, in a case filed Zimbabweans in the Diaspora also seeking their right to vote from outside the country. The African Commission ordered the Zimbabwe government to allow Zimbabweans living abroad to vote in the March constitutional referendum and the elections that followed, by making postal voting facilities available.

According to the African Commission’s rules of procedure, a provisional ruling is binding. But there has been no attempt by the Zim government to abide by or even acknowledge the order.

Den Moyo, the Chairman of the Diaspora Vote Campaign told SW Radio Africa that a dangerous precedent of non-compliance with binding rules is being set by African groups, over the Zimbabwe situation.

“We have a serious problem in African politics, when even court rulings are ignored. In the case of Zimbabwe, we know the African Union court voted in our favour and Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, and that was ignored by the Mugabe regime for obvious reasons. It sets a bad precedent that those rules and laws can be disregarded,” Moyo said.

Moyo also said that the government’s refusal to allow the Zimbabwean Diaspora to vote from the outside the country “is a blow to democracy.”

“If Zimbabwe is serious about being recognised in the international community as a country that respects democracy, then they should be serious about allowing all citizens an equal right to vote,” Moyo said.

He explained that there is already “no doubt” that the election was not credible, with the regional SADC bloc bending its own rules that govern democratic elections to cater for ZANU PF’s victory.

“I think SADC is being disingenuous in them proclaiming this election to be credible, when they know that their own conditions for free and fair elections have not been followed,” Moyo said.



  • comment-avatar
    Daniel Berejena 9 years ago

    Next door in Mozambique, they organise votes for their countrymen living abroad, to the extent of setting up polling stations in Zimbabwe.

    What makes it impossible for Zimbabwe, if the Mozambicans can do it.

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      Kevin Watson 9 years ago

      Because Mugabe and Zanu PF know that they will not get the votes of the economic refugees!

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    Chitova weGona 9 years ago

    Zanu pf will never listen to anyone on this planet! Those murderers went to war because they blood thirsty and very selfish. To all Zimbabweans let us remember that it is only us who can bring change to our motherland. For us to expect both regional and international organisations like SADC and AU to bring change is a dream that will never come true. I believe we should have our own homegrown solutions. As far as mugabe is concerned he owns Zimbabwe and does what he wants and we follow!

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    Mashinga P 9 years ago

    Why should people leaving outside the country want to influence the vote when they are not directly affected by event happening in the country. Its like allowing sell outs to determine our future. Those in the country should have a better vision for the country. After all why do you want to contribute to the vote, and even influence the vote when you ran away and are leaving in comfort while we are working for the country under sanctions and other difficult conditions

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      Lt General Nyikayadonha 9 years ago

      Car Door Tea Care Moon, we are directly affected because we are feeding our relatives that are still living there, who you and your ZPF murderers and thieves continue to short change.

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      kevin nel 9 years ago

      Mashinga P why are people living outside the country in the first place. The reason we want to vote is to influence the vote so that we can come back home to work in a positive environment with jobs, medical, clean water, good roads, street lights, food on the table and education for our children. How dare you call me a sell out because i want my children to have all this> Where are your ministers getting the medical, educating their children, are able to have bore holes and generators and food on the table at all times.
      Why the hell dont you call them sell outs for forcing me to live outside my own country.
      You need to be look at facts and think

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    Mutendi 9 years ago

    It a noble idea however people in the diaspora do not pay taxes in Zimbabwe. Countries were postal votes are accepted are those were citizens in the diaspora pay taxes. So who is supposed to foot the bill?

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      Kevin Watson 9 years ago

      You dumb bonehead most of the diaspora send money back to their relatives in Zimbabwe so they can survive. This money then pays consumption taxes when it is spent, unlike the diamond revenue being stolen by Zanu PF, and sent out to foreign bank accounts.

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    Zimguard80 9 years ago

    Watson that’s a brilliant observation. Some people in trying to portray themselves as more Zimbabweans just expose themselves as misinformed morons. Diasporas contributed quite a lot and will still contribute more in years to come.

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    kevin 9 years ago

    Sorry Den, diaspora could vote in Zim. All you had to do is make sure that you are registered and then vote while in Zim. I left Zim in 2002 and live in the US. I went home to visit around election time and I did vote without a problem. My name was still on the voter’s role. What Zim is doing is no different than many countries US included. They assist or allow their citizens to vote from abroad only if they have been deployed by the Govt e.g.military or diplomatic corps. The rest, it is up to individual to return to vote or send an absentee ballot such as the case in the US. Did you know that even though Americans live abroad, they are still required to file US income tax on money earned abroad. Most do not file taxes and don not bother the Govt about their right to vote.

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    Qiniso 9 years ago

    Lets not fool ourselves… From the 10 of you who responded in this artcle, how many of you who are in Zim voted? Lets be honest. Many people dont vote and they come up with different reasons, like the line was too long, I didnt have the time etc. As of diaspora, Zanu is afraid of “umnyama ongelampisi” as we say in Ndebele. The majority of those people will vote zanu if given a chance coz as long as zanu is in power, they have excuses to remain abroad.

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    Ndozo 8 years ago

    NOW YOU WANT OUR MONEY ………………………………………..What????????, ZANU (PF) wanting mari yekukwenya twuchembere kikikikikikikiki kweeeeeeee!, mathaza chaiwo. Comparing Zimbabwe and its neighbors on remittances of foreign currency shame on you both Chinamasa and your stupid ZANU (PF) we will find other means of sending money there are quite a lot of them. By the way. where is our vote, you refused use the same right enjoyed by other neighboring nationalities when they are even on holiday. OUR VOTE WAS DENIED BY NON OTHER THAN ZANU (PF) now they want our money for nothing STUPID people< Mazimbavha. We will not give you our money.

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    George 8 years ago

    I have floated the idea of diaspora bonds to fund infrastructure projects in Zim for a while..so I am glad Chinamasa has seen the light. Folks we can do this. This program can be managed, administered by a mix of diaspora and finance ministry experts..and have international watchdogs(auditors) making sure those with long fingers are not dipping into the fund