Ousted Ntabazinduna Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni recently said the 2023 elections outcome would be ruled illegitimate by the international community if the over five million Zimbabweans in the diaspora are not allowed to vote.
Ndiweni’s remarks came weeks after Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda called for the amendment to the electoral laws to allow for diaspora vote.
His remarks attracted backlash from the ruling ZANU PF which has for years opposed the diaspora vote saying the country was not equipped to allow those in the diaspora to vote.
Ndiweni, who is the chairperson of the MyRight2Vote pressure group, based in the United Kingdom, said holding an election without citizens based in foreign lands would render the outcome illegitimate. NewsDay’s Silas Nkala quotes him as saying:
As a person who has been complaining about diaspora voting, this is a burning issue. It is a human right to be allowed to vote. About 5,5 million Zimbabweans in the diaspora have been denied their right to vote. To make things worse, this human right was promised during the war of liberation by ZANU PF, by ZAPU.
So, we have a deep historical basis for demanding this right because wherever we look, this right was given and it has been taken from the Zimbabwean populace in the diaspora. The population in the diaspora is nearly 50% of the voting population in Zimbabwe. This is a formidable percentage.
The Electoral Act only guarantees government employees such as diplomats the right to vote from outside the country through postal votes.
2018 elections observer missions called on the government to facilitate postal voting for every Zimbabwean as guaranteed under section 67 of the Constitution, which guarantees every citizen above the age of 18 the right to vote.