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Civil Society Pushes For Diaspora Vote

by Bustop TV News

By Romeo Takundwa

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Zimbabwe have said the diaspora vote remains key to their electoral reform agenda as recommended by the 2018 election observer missions (EOMs) recommendations.

The Electoral Act only guarantees government employees such as diplomats the right to vote from outside the country under the postal voting model.

Observer missions of the 2018 harmonized elections called on government to facilitate postal voting to every Zimbabwe as guaranteed under Section 67 of the Constitution and guarantee every citizen above the age of 18 the right to vote.

A Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) tracking project on the implementation of EOMs recommendations however noted the lack of political will to implement postal voting.

“Special voting rights have not yet been expanded. It appears that political will to expand the category of persons eligible for special voting is absent”, part of the report reads.

Opposition parties said the demand for a diaspora vote remains key to their electoral reform agenda.

“The question of diaspora vote is key to our electoral reform agenda as indicated in our alternative policy document on electoral good governance. The fact that ZEC can facilitate postal voting means it has the capacity to ensure that citizens in the diaspora vote in the same manner,” MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzai Mahere said.

Meanwhile Zanu PF acting political commissar Patrick Chinamasa last month declared the ruling party will not entertain calls for a diaspora vote until sanctions imposed on the country are lifted.

Chinamasa said allowing millions of Zimbabweans living abroad to take part in the country’s polls would be a disadvantage the ruling party as its leaders were under a travel ban to western countries and will not be able to campaign there.

Zimbabweans living abroad are estimated to be over five million.

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