Gwanda residents reject diaspora vote
GWANDA residents yesterday said diasporans should be denied the right to vote from foreign countries in the 2018 harmonised elections.
Contributing during a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs hearing on Saturday, a majority of the participants said those in the diaspora should return home to vote.
“They should come home and register to vote. They should cast their ballots at polling stations like all other Zimbabweans,” said a participant.
Mr Thulani Moyo who was part of the majority of participants who refused to give the diasporans the right to vote said the Government has no money to facilitate voting from foreign lands. “The petition by Election Resources Centre isn’t right. The right for the people in the diaspora to vote is in this country. They should come here and vote. The Government has no money to conduct voter education there, worse still to send observers in each and every country which has Zimbabweans to observe the voting exercise,” said Mr Moyo.
Gwanda Deputy Mayor, Councillor Albert Ndlovu said diasporans forfeited their right to vote when they left the country.
The Mayor, Clr Knowledge Ndlovu, said the diasporans should not be denied the right to vote as long as they were in the country.
“Why should all Zimbabweans be subjected to a station vote while they are in this country, yet diasporans want to vote from anywhere they are based. They should come back home to register and vote at a polling station where their names appear like everyone else,” said Clr Ndlovu.
Mr James Sibanda, another contributor, said those in the diaspora were “cowards” who ran away from the country thereby forfeiting their right to vote.
“It’s better to give that right to prisoners in our country’s prisons. Some of them are in jail for crimes they didn’t commit. It’s better for them to be given the right to vote than to give it to diasporans,” said Mr Sibanda.
The few that contributed in favour of the diaspora vote said it would be unfair to deny Zimbabweans living outside the country the right to vote from wherever they are, when the country desperately needed their money.
“If we deny them the right to vote then let’s not cry for diaspora remittances. Why do we want their money if they are not Zimbabweans with a right to vote?” asked Mr Wellington Nare from Zimrights.
Alderman Petros Mukwena, Ms Linda Mpofu, Clr Juston Mazhale and Ms Juliet Nkiwane who were among the few who defended the diaspora vote concurred with Mr Nare.
However, most participants concurred on the scrapping of voting slips and said voters should carry a voter’s registration card.
Harare West legislator Ms Jessie Majome chaired the meeting which was concluded without incident unlike in Bulawayo, Mutoko and Mutare where violence occured. — @richardmuponde
Ms Jessie Majome