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Zimbabweans in Diaspora Pin Voting Hopes on 10th Parliament

Zimbabwe Diaspora Vote Initiative (ZDVI) has urged the country’s 10th parliament to push for changes in the Electoral Amendment Act to allow Zimbabweans abroad to participate in general elections.

Congratulating the recently sworn-in parliamentarians, ZDVI called for the amendment of laws that allow Zimbabweans who work at the country’s embassies to vote while denying others residing in the same region.

ZDVI said Zimbabweans in the diaspora were contributing to the country’s economy through remittances and should be accorded the right to vote.

In a statement, ZDVI spokesperson Padmore Kufa argued that the country’s diaspora remittances have been surging since last year owing to Zimbabweans abroad.

According to statistics released by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe towards the 2023 harmonised elections, diaspora remittances for the six months to June 2023 “amount to US$919 million, a 15% increase from US$797 million received during the same period” last year.

“We would like to extend a special message to those who were not present when the Electoral Amendment Act was debated during the last parliament during which the need for diaspora votes was raised.

“Hopefully, the diaspora vote requirement will be incorporated into the new law as the debate continues,” said ZDVI.

“We believe that as every constituency in Zimbabwe has someone who has left for the Diaspora, it should be in the interests of every member of parliament to ensure that the citizens from their constituency based in the diaspora are accorded an opportunity to participate in the Zimbabwean electoral process in the same way as Zimbabweans based in the Diaspora working at the Embassies are allowed to vote.”

The current legislation which only allows Zimbabweans who work at the country’s embassies to vote while “denying the same rights to other Zimbabweans based in the same country violates the constitution which grants every citizen the right to vote, hence the part of the current legislation that caters for voting only by the citizens working at embassies has to be amended to cater for both those working at Embassies and those others in the diaspora.

“Who are contributing to the economic development of the country while working for different employers. It is segregation to give rights to some Zimbabweans in the diaspora while leaving out others living in the same geographical region,” said Kufa.

According to ZDVI the larger portion of remittances is sent by people who are denied their constitutional right to vote.

The initiative added that the figure of Zimbabweans working abroad will continue to rise as more will leave the country for greener pastures.

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