MDC -T pushing for diaspora vote
Harare, May 06, 2011 – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s faction of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is pushing South African President
Jacob Zuma, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) facilitator in
the Zimbabwe crisis, to allow the Diaspora to vote in the next elections now
thought to be held in 2013.
About three million Zimbabweans are estimated to be in the Diaspora after
they fled an economic and political meltdown between 2000 and 2010. Over 250
000 have been given work permits in South Africa this year after the country
formally started registering illegal Zimbabweans.
Zanu (PF)'s legal guru, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is thought to be vying to
succeed President Robert Mugabe and is reportedly, working behind the scene
to maintain his status as the heir apparent has told the state media that
his party would not allow the Diaspora to vote.
He said restrictive measures imposed by the European Union (EU) and other
Western powers on Mugabe and his inner circle should be unconditionally
removed before people in the Diaspora were allowed to vote. Mnangagwa added
that due to the targeted sanctions the Zanu (PF) leadership was unable to
travel to Europe and the United States to canvas for support from the
Diaspora yet Prime Minister Tsvangirai and his leadership could crisis-cross
the globe to campaign.
But in a hard-hitting statement to the media on Friday, Prime Tsvangirai’s
party charged that all adult Zimbabweans, regardless of their station either
at home or in the Diaspora, must be allowed to vote in the next and in any
election if democracy has to assume its “generic” meaning.
Tsvangirai said this as Zanu (PF) and MDC negotiators exchanged notes with
the SADC facilitation team in Cape Town.
The MDC-T said Zanu (PF) Mnangagwa should know that the issue of restrictive
measures and the Diaspora vote were not linked in anyway and therefore could
“The Inclusive Government was set up to give birth to a completely new
society, a society that reflects a radical departure from our dark past. The
right to a vote can never be treated as a privilege, and cannot be bargained
for,” read part of the MDC-T statement to the media.
“Decades of economic and political chaos drove millions of Zimbabweans off
their home base. As if to further punish them the former regime quickly
disenfranchised them purely on allegations of supporting the party of the
future, the MDC. Now that Zimbabwe is being surveyed by an Inclusive
Government, there can never be any justification for official discrimination
of citizens in the Diaspora,” said the MDC-T.
“For the record, these Zimbabweans living and working abroad gave the
country a lifeline against a debilitating hyper-inflationary period through
a steady flow of remittances in cash, food and fuel. They continue to do so
today as the country teeters back to its feet. They should never be denied a
voice to determine the future of their country.”
“We should end the discrimination and exclusion of such a sizeable and
invaluable part of our active population in national affairs. Needless to
point out that the liberation struggle was anchored on the need for a
one-person, one vote principle. To deny a Zimbabwean such a right would
amount to a regrettable betrayal of the ideals of that struggle,” it added.
Meanwhile, the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) has said that
Zimbabweans must only go for elections once a new constitution has been
passed in the country. NCA chairperson was speaking to villager in Kanyemba
district in their 'take charge' campaign that is meant to teach people about
‘’As the NCA we are telling the politicians of this country that elections
should only be conducted after the writing of a new genuine people driven
constitution. That new constitution should guarantee a free and fair
election,’’ Madhuku said.
NCA spokesperson, Madock Chivasa said people should "after the draft is out
it is everyone’s duty as a Zimbabwean to scrutinise the contents of the
draft and if your views are not captured surely you should all vote NO.’’