The Zimbabwe Diaspora for Democracy Inc. has called for Zimbabweans to unite and fight the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to accommodate the Diaspora vote.
In a statement, Charles Mutama, the Executive Director Zimbabwe of Diaspora for Democracy Inc. said a toxic political environment emerges in the event that the opposition suspects the ruling ZANU PF government is manipulating the electoral system and processes to its own advantage.
“Confidence in the ZEC headed by Justice Priscilla Chigumba is eroded amid fears of the military involvement and lack of transparency. Recent pronouncements by Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi that the diaspora vote is not constitutional contributed to suspicion that the election will not be inclusive and credible,” Mutama said.
Womberaishe Nhunde, the Zimbabwe Diaspora for Democracy Programmes Coordinator, said there were many unanswered questions around the ballot paper.
“The ZEC does not want to give the people the knowhow of where the ballot paper is being printed. There is need to be transparent because the people have the right to know before they go and cast their votes.
“We are benefiting from diaspora and I don’t see anything wrong from letting the diasporians vote as they are also part of the country. The people in diaspora need to exercise their rights as Zimbabweans,” Nhunde said.
Ostallos Siziba, the Coordinator of General Consensus said diasporians should be given the right to participate in the electoral process of their country. He said thre are steps to be put in place to ensure that citizens’ rights are not violated.
“Frameworks must be crafted to make sure that wherever Zimbabweans might be, they exercise their rights in as much as the electoral process is concerned. If elections are free, fair and credible, it then lead to development of the nation. The Generational Consensus therefore calls for every Zimbabwean to take part in ensuring that diasporians are supported during the 2018 harmonised elections,” he said.
The Zimbabwe Diaspora for Democracy Inc. believes that it is the responsibility of all Zimbabweans to participate in building a transparent and credible electoral board as well as framing laws that adhere to the SADC Principles and Guidelines on Democratic Elections. Equally, Zimbabweans who have over the years immigrated to other countries need to be enfranchised as their fellow compatriots working in foreign missions.