Zim Diaspora to protest voting rights failure
By Alex Bell
Members of the Zimbabwean Diaspora will this weekend gather in London where
they will protest, among other issues, the failure of the government back
home to allow them to vote.
The demonstration is being hosted by the Zim pressure group The Vigil, the
Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) and a coalition of other
They are calling on the Zim government and Southern African Development
Community (SADC) leaders to ensure that the next elections are free, fair
and credible. They are demanding that the Diaspora vote be allowed and that
international election observers be permitted in the country, warning that
without these and a host of other key issues, the elections will not be
UK based Zim activist and ROHR member Tawanda Dzimba warned that there is
little back home that has changed to convince him, or other Zimbabweans
abroad, that the next elections will be credible. He said the exclusion of
the Diaspora voice alone casts doubt on the entire process.
“So we have agreed to come together and demonstrate and tell the world what
is happening. We want the world to know that the elections, if they are held
under the current conditions, will be a farce,” Dzimba told SW Radio Africa.
The Diaspora vote issue has been all but ignored by the current coalition
government, despite the millions of Zimbabweans working and living abroad.
Last week the issue was effectively put to bed, after the Constitutional
Court indefinitely postponed ruling on a legal challenge, brought forward by
a Zimbabwean man in South Africa.
Tawengwa Bukaibenyu had filed an application last year, challenging the
barring of postal ballots for exiled Zimbabweans, which he said violated his
right to choose his country’s government. But Justice and Legal Affairs
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 country’s fiscus.
There has also been no word from the government on an order handed down by
Africa’s highest human rights court, the Africa Commission on Human and
People’s Rights, which ordered the government to allow for the Diaspora
The MDC-T has now embarked on a Diaspora-focused campaign, urging
communities abroad to return home and be part of the voting process. The
party has started this campaign by holding rallies in South Africa, where
millions of Zimbabweans now live in search of greener pastures.
MDC-T South African spokesperson Kumbirai Muchemwa told SW Radio Africa that
without having a Diaspora vote, Zimbabweans abroad should do all they can to
be part of the upcoming election process. He said that ZANU PF was strictly
to blame for excluding the Diaspora from making choices about their country,
calling it “an acknowledgment of ZANU PF’s misrule.”
The MDC-T’s campaign will soon head to Botswana, before targeting
Zimbabweans in the UK.