No Diaspora vote in 2018

Mnangagwa not keen on Diaspora vote

The Zimbabwean – Opinion by Kennedy Kaitano

24 December 2017

Mnangagwa's address to Zimbabweans in South Africa proves beyond doubt he is not keen on Diaspora vote

Dear United Nations

I write this open letter to the United Nations, through the few United Nations agencies whose addresses I know of in Zimbabwe. I have copied the same letter to the Clerk of Parliament and the speaker of Parliament who I have engaged before about the Diaspora Vote, so that they can send my message to our Dear President to remind him that the Zimbabweans in the Diaspora need to exercise their right to vote in 2018.

I had hoped that the Dear President would take it upon himself to tell the Zimbabweans in South Africa of the plans his Government was putting in place to ensure that the estimated 4 million Zimbabweans in the Diaspora exercise their right to vote, but any hope for that was dashed when the dear president only told Zimbabweans to come back home and have their skills used to rebuild the nation:

“I believe that together we can move forward. I am aware of the abundant skills that rest here among you Cdes from Zimbabwe. I appeal to you to come to Zimbabwe. Whenever you come, look for the opportunities that now present themselves”, Cde President Mnangagwa is quoted saying by The Herald.

Not that there’s anything wrong in Zimbabweans coming back home. People will come when they feel the atmosphere is conducive for them to do so.

Besides, the country still has thousands of university graduates that are still selling airtime and vegetables on the streets, so there are enough skills for Government to absorb in its reconstruction programme, with only a few experienced persons needed to work with the inexperienced unemployed graduates.

With an unemployment rate of 80 percent, it is best to absorb the unemployed before asking Zimbabweans with lucrative jobs who are in the Diaspora to come back and compete for jobs with the poor unemployed.

Comrade Mnangagwa’s speech exposes him for his uncaring attitude towards the unemployed, and exposes him for lack of good thinking that should be expected from a President. He speaks as if he is not aware of the fact that the Zimbabweans in the Diaspora have contributed to the sustenance of the Zimbabwean economy through remittances they send back to family and friends home, and the country will need those remittances as it recovers.

For President Mnangagwa not to mention anything about the Diaspora vote exposes him for his desire to deny Zimbabweans in the Diaspora their right to vote as stipulated in the constitution of Zimbabwe.

I would therefore through this open letter appeal to the relevant United Nations agencies with operations in Zimbabwe to please remind our President that we need our right to vote.

If Mozambican nationals based in Zimbabwe are given the opportunity to vote during national elections in their country, why should it be so difficult for Zimbabweans in South Africa and elsewhere to vote in elections in their own country?

I am sure many countries where Zimbabweans are based will be very keen to provide support to enable Zimbabweans in their respective countries to vote.

Please Mr. President, we don’t want you to shed crocodile tears regarding our right to vote – it’s not so difficult.

I would also appeal to those countries which Government of Zimbabwe will approach in order to have sanctions lifted or for Zimbabwe to be admitted into the international community to insist on electoral reforms that enable all Zimbabweans, including those in the Diaspora, to be allowed the opportunity to vote as a condition for re engagement.

I thank in advance all those who I have asked to perform specific actions to ensure that Zimbabweans in the Diaspora are allowed to vote, including the Clerk of Parliament and the Speaker of Parliament who I have asked to pass on the request to our Dear President.