ZEC digs in on diaspora vote

By Daniel Chigundu

ZIMBABWE Electoral Commission (ZEC) has maintained its stance on diaspora vote adding that only those on national duty will be allowed to vote from the diaspora.

It is estimated that there are about three million Zimbabweans living in the diaspora owing to various reasons that range from political persecution, economic issues and various other reasons.

South Africa has the majority of Zimbabwean diaspora, followed by UK, Australia and United States among others.

However, these Zimbabwe have been requesting from the government that they are afforded the opportunity to exercise their voting rights from the diaspora like what other countries are doing but their calls have fallen on deaf ears.

Some diasporans have already approached the courts in a bid to force the government to allow diaspora voting.

However, addressing the media on behalf of ZEC chairperson, Commissioner Joyce Kazembe said only those on national will be afforded postal ballot.

“Those on national we will send postal ballots, ZEC is mandated by law to that, but this arrangement will not be extended to anyone who is not on national duty.

“Those not on national duties will have to come and vote in their constituencies and polling stations. The ambassadors were all in the country a few weeks ago where they were being briefed.

“So we took the machines to where they were meeting and we registered them, so they are registered but for others, we do not have administration capacity to implement the postal ballot,” she said.

According to political analysts, the government is unwilling to allow diaspora vote because there is a wide believe that most of the people in the diaspora are opposition supporters.

Zimbabwe will be going for elections between 21 July and 21 August this year and ZEC is in the process of finalizing the biometric voters roll that seeks among other things to weed out multiple registrations and ghosts on the roll.

Although voter registration is still ongoing at ZEC’s 63 district offices across the country, about 5 310 734 had registered under the nationwide Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) blitz which ended with a mop-up exercise on 8 February 2018.

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