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Diaspora Call For Electoral Amendment

By Tafadzwa Mpofu

Zimbabweans living in diaspora continue to push Parliament to amend the Electoral Act to allow the diaspora vote, and participate in the 2023 polls.

This was discussed in the hearings held by Parliament Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary affairs held on Monday and Tuesday, to gather views on the amendment of Electoral Act.

Zimbabwe Diaspora Vote, wrote to Parliament in their submissions calling for amendment of the Electoral Act to allow them to register to vote using address of one’s property, a relative and place where one was born in Zimbabwe.

In their submission the organisation proposed for Zimbabwean embassies dotted around the globe to be used in electoral processes for the benefit of citizens abroad.

“We suggest amendment of Section 17A of the Electoral Act to enable the Commission to register interested Zimbabwean citizens in the diaspora to vote at the Zimbabwe embassies.

“Amend Subsection 33(2)(b) of the Electoral Act to allow Zimbabweans living in the diaspora to register to vote in the constituencies they were registered before leaving the country unless if they have a new address in Zimbabwe,” read the submission in part.

The diaspora vote has been a bone of contention with President Emmerson Mnangagwa shooting down any prospect for them to participate in the plebiscite.

Opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) has also called for the diaspora vote to be considered which they believe will provide a boost for their aspirations to unseat Zanu PF.

Majority of Zimbabweans moved in droves across borders to seek greener pastures following years of economic turmoil.

“Amend 37c of the Electoral Act to ensure that election results are communicated to the National Command Centre immediately following verification of the results by representatives of the contestants in the election. Ensure that the Electoral Act allows agents of parties contesting in an election in the diaspora are allowed in the polling stations to witness the voting process.

“Ensure the Electoral Act is amended such that the diaspora vote is managed in a manner that ensures the transparency and integrity of the entire electoral process as contained in item 7.8 of the SADC principles and guidelines Make any other amendments as necessary to the Electoral Act to ensure a smooth diaspora voting process,” read the submissions further.