Gwanda res­i­dents re­ject di­as­pora vote

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Richard Muponde Gwanda Cor­re­spon­dent

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

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