Diaspora vote denial stirs mixed feelings

File Pic: Zimbabweans protesting in the diaspora
File Pic: Zimbabweans protesting in the diaspora

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s announcement that Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora may not be able to vote in the upcoming elections has brought mixed feelings from Zimbabweans all over the world. 

After a welcome development of relaxing voter registration requirements which has seen aliens now being allowed to participate fully in the voting process, ZEC has cast a dark cloud on the achievement by announcing that Zimbabweans in the Diaspora are ineligible to vote.

“Our position as ZEC is that we would want every legible Zimbabwean to vote, but everything has to be done in accordance to the law, as of now people in the diaspora are ineligible to vote. It’s incumbent or it behooves upon the Parliamentary parties; MDC, MDC-T and ZANU PF to change the law” Acting ZEC Chairperson Emmanuel Magade said

On the other hand a not so controversial question was posed on Twitter earlier, on the practicality of Diaspora voting since the voting is ward based.

This led to a more intriguing question, from Tapiwa Nyamusho “Why should they decide on matters of a country they do not live in?”

These are some of the sentiments which were aired on twitter:

“We say no to diaspora vote. Whoever that wants to vote must return home and register as well as vote.”

“A situation whereby a million pple mostly in rural areas decide for everyone is not fair” …..

Harare West Legislator Jesse Majome replying to the question on practicality of the Diaspora Voting said “Diaspora vote for non-State employees would work in exactly the same way that Zimbabweans who work for the State have been voting from our embassies for wards in Zimbabwe by POSTAL voting based on their local address i.e. ward and even polling station”

Some people questioned the postal voting system citing that there may be irregularities unless the voters are guaranteed safety of their votes .

“I believe postal voting can create more irregularities unless we can be assured of maximum security to avoid stuffing of the parcels”

This comes at a time where Zimbabweans (living beyond our borders), due to recent developments in the administration of the country, were expecting to be free to exercise their constitutional right to vote.