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“Too Late To Call For The Diaspora Vote Before 2023”- Election Watchdog

Civil society organisations (CSOs) have said it was now too late to call for the Zimbabweans in the diaspora to be allowed vote in the 2023 elections. 

They said the process is long and can’t be done within the limited space of time left.

In its first electoral reform series titled Diaspora Vote in Zimbabwe: Feasibility versus Desirability, civic society group Tutuma Zimbabwe said Zimbabwe has failed to amend effect constitutional and Electoral laws.

The Tutuma Zimbabwe study said laws should be amended to ensure clear procedures on how citizens residing outside the country will be registered and how they will vote on the polling day.

Election Resource Centre programmes manager Solomon Bobosibunu told NewsDay that it was too late to call for the diaspora vote before next year’s elections. Bobosibunu said:

It’s not justifiable, but practically it’s no longer possible. The timeframe left between now up to the time Zimbabwe can promulgate laws that will be used in an election means that we might be behind time. If all the laws are not enacted by January 2023, then ultimately those laws will not see the light of the day.

There is no longer sufficient time for amendments to the Electoral Act to be done; we lost a lot of time without even taking any action around the Diaspora vote. This should have been started around 2018-2019. Now we are only left with five months before 2023.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) chairperson Andrew Makoni said Parliament has until the end of the year 2022 to agree to electoral reforms and pass the necessary law. Makoni added:

There is still time for the electoral reforms to be made. However, it will be up to Parliament to consider the diaspora vote or not. As Zesn we have been pushing for a law allowing all citizens to exercise their right to vote despite their location.

Numerous voices have been calling for the diaspora vote with the ruling ZANU PF reluctant to push the agenda.

National Assembly speaker Jacob Mudenda is one of the unusual voices that recently pushed for citizens in the diaspora to vote, a move that reportedly got him in trouble with his party.

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