It’s bad news for the Zimbabweans in diaspora. Reports have shown that Zimbabwean diasporans will not be permitted to vote in the 2018 elections.
Zimbabwean diasporans will be required to return home two times– first to register and next to vote –if they really want to participate in the 2018 elections.
Although a provision in the new constitution gives all Zimbabweans over the age of 18( making no distinction between those in or outside Zimbabwe) the right to vote, the electoral law still hasn’t been amended to reflect the constitution. Critics are pessimistic of the possibilities of this changing before 2018. Therefore as it stands, all Zimbabweans living outside of Zimbabwe will not be able to vote.
On Wednesday, The Chronicle reported Rita Makarau, the head of the state-aligned Zimbabwe Electoral Commission confirming that diasporans will not be allowed to vote.
“People in the diaspora will be allowed to vote as long as they come back to Zimbabwe on voting day and can vote in their wards.”
President Mugabe is not a fan of permitting Zimbabwean diasporans to vote as they have shown to be against his government time and again. Last month, Rita Makarau stated that there are no funds for diasporan votes, making Zimbabweans to suspect that the ZANU-PF will do whatever it takes to get the largely opposition diasporans to not vote.
On a different account she said a new biometrics voters roll will be set up in 2016 to enable all Zimbabweans to register in person, and in the process trumping any opportunity to permit Zimbabweans living in foreign land to register without returning to their country.
There are only about 6.6 million registered voters in Zimbabwe while there are about approximately three million Zimbabweans out of the country. Following the post-2000 crisis, many Zimbabweans began migrating to neighboring South Africa and other countries in a bid to escape the economic crisis in the impoverished country.
“Until there is that legal framework governing the diaspora vote, people in the diaspora will not be able to vote where they currently reside,” Rita Makarau said, implying that the section of the constitution which permits all Zimbabweans above the age of 18 to vote does not apply to Zimbabwean emigrants.