AS the diaspora vote debate hots-up, I read an article in which Zanu PF’s former political commissar Patrick Chinamasa told a press conference that “If you want a diaspora vote, first level the playing field by removing sanctions, so that Zanu PF can go there and campaign freely without being vetted against sanctions”.
However, when you addressed Zimbabweans living in the United States of America on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, you made it clear that government would work towards ensuring that Zimbabweans living in the diaspora will vote in 2023. I suppose Chinamasa was being mischievous as he cannot go against the Head of State and Government’s decision. Zimbabweans living in the diaspora cannot be sanctioned by blocking them from voting because the European Union, the US and the United Kingdom imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe. I encourage Zimbabweans living in the diaspora to petition Sadc, the Sadc Parliamentary Forum, African Union, Pan-African Parliament, and the United Nations against such measures if you, Your Excellency, are prevented from progressing with your promise to work towards implementing the diaspora vote in 2023.
Chinamasa forgets that your party has within its ranks British citizens some who are in government and probably several others based in the United Kingdom.
The party has representation in the United States of America some of whom you addressed in 2018, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and many other countries.
If the issue is about not being able to campaign in the United States of America and parts of Europe, why not say there will be no diaspora vote in those countries which have applied sanctions on Zimbabwe?
Why would one want to sanction Zimbabweans living in Sadc when Zimbabwe itself is a member of the regional bloc?
Why would one want to sanction Zimbabweans living in Africa when Zimbabwe is a member of the African Union? Why would one sanction Zimbabweans living in China after the Chinese government has built a parliament for Zimbabwe?
The few Zimbabweans living in China also deserve the opportunity to cast their votes for Members of Parliament who occupy seats in the newly built house?
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Other countries in Sadc and Africa allow their citizens to vote in the diaspora. Interestingly, Your Excellency, you were in China when the President of Rwanda cast his vote in China when some African leaders travelled to China for the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
You may have noticed that Rwanda gives its citizens in the diaspora the right to vote. Zimbabwean government facilitates voting for other African countries such as Mozambique. Why should Zimbabweans fail to do the same? Your Excellency, what legacy will you leave if you are one who is arm-twisted by the likes of Patrick Chinamasa, Christopher Mutsvangwa and others?
If you are a listening President, you must listen to the voice of the diaspora. How will Zimbabweans trust a President who promises one thing, and does not deliver on it?
It is my sincere hope, Your Excellency, that you will live to your word on the diaspora vote. I also appeal to right-minded Zanu PF. Please listen more to the Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda who recently said he was frustrated at the delays being made to amend the laws to allow the diaspora vote.-Kennedy Kaitano.