THE Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings has done some good work to expose the country’s Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa.
asa seethed during parliament’s question and answer session when asked why Zimbabweans living abroad were not being allowed to vote in the 2005 parliamentary election.
As expected from an inflexible minister who is not innovative, Chinamasa said Zimbabweans living in the diaspora would not vote because the constitution does not allow them to do so.
Comrade Chinamasa, is the constitution of Zimbabwe written on concrete or a rock?
How many times has the present constitution of Zimbabwe been amended since 1980? Was it not amended through parliament? Does parliament today not have the same powers that it had when it effected some amendments.
After all, the constitution which Chinamasa talks about was developed at Lancaster House, Britain, and sections of it have been criticised by the present regime.
If Chinamasa was a progressive minister, he could have said amendments can be made to the constitution if so desired, to enable Zimbabweans in the diaspora an opportunity to decide how their country should be governed.
Just about a month or so ago, national television and all the radio stations were awash with advertisements encouraging Mozambicans living in Zimbabwe to go and register to vote in the election that takes place towards the end of the year. An intelligent minister could have learnt from that development.
Why are Mozambicans living outside their country being given their right to vote now? Participation in an election is a basic human right but Chinamasa wants to deny sons of the soil that right.
When negative reports about Zimbabwe’s human rights record are published, Chinamasa is one of those ministers very quick to cry foul and accuse the opposition. No, it’s not the opposition, Comrade Chinamasa, it is the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings which exposes your evil nature to the international community.
President Mugabe recently signed the Sadc protocol on elections and for Chinamasa to use flawed sections of the constitution to justify denial of a section of Zimbabweans its basic human right is clear testimony that the regime is afraid of holding free and fair elections.
President Mugabe pushed for change in the leadership set-up for him to become president. If possible, the MDC members of parliament should introduce a motion calling for an amendment to the constitution to allow Zimbabweans living in the diaspora to vote.
Such a motion should be supported by all progressive parliamentarians – including the Zanu PF gang.
The National Constitutional Assembly and other progressive forces should team up to push for constitutional reforms that would make possible the holding of free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.