Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Diaspora welcomes news on dual citizenship

Diaspora welcomes news on dual citizenship

By Alex Bell
10 July 2012

Members of Zimbabwe’s Diaspora community have cautiously welcomed news that 
dual citizenship will be part of the country’s new constitution, raising 
hopes that their voting rights will also soon be secure.

A chapter in the new draft constitution, which is believed to be almost 
ready, stipulates that every Zimbabwean citizen by birth should retain his 
or her citizenship, even if that person acquires foreign citizenship. This 
comes as a positive development for the millions of Zimbabweans in the 
Diaspora, many of whom now have citizenship rights in other countries after 
being forced to flee the crisis back home.

It is also a positive development in terms of the right of members of the 
Diaspora to vote, a right that has been denied by the Robert Mugabe regime 
through partisan electoral laws.

But even though dual citizenship may be in the constitution, the Electoral 
Act would still have to be amended before those in the Diaspora could vote.

MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora told SW Radio Africa this week that a new 
Electoral Bill will be tabled in parliament and legislators from both sides 
will be able to debate it and recommend changes to the Act. He said his 
party will push for the amendment, to allow Zimbabweans in the Diaspora the 
right to vote in the next elections.

“By allowing dual citizenship, what that means is that if you are Zimbabwean 
by birth and have acquired British citizenship, you will still have the same 
rights as people who are permanently based in Zimbabwe,” Mwonzora said.

Den Moyo from the Zimbabwe Diaspora Vote Campaign told SW Radio Africa on 
Tuesday that the Electoral Act amendment is the “key” for their hopes to be 
realised. He welcomed the inclusion of dual citizenship in the new draft 
constitution as “progressive,” and a “step in the right direction.”

“There is still a lot that needs to happen though, chief among this is the 
Electoral Act amendment. We are waiting to see what happens and we are 
hoping that the support shown by the MDC-T for a Diaspora vote means there 
will be no resistance to the amendment being passed,” Moyo said.

Moyo meanwhile called on members of the Diaspora to gather their paperwork 
and start preparing to register to vote, saying they will push for a 
separate Diaspora voters roll to be in place before a poll. He said that in 
the mean time, citizens abroad can register their details with the Zimbabwe 
Diaspora Vote Campaign, which will then help them secure their voting rights 
in the future. 



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