JOHANNESBURG – A small group of Zimbabwean nationals were protesting on Friday outside the Zimbabwean Consulate in Cape Town, demanding that they be allowed to vote in their countries of residence in next year’s general election.
The group is organised under the umbrella of the Democracy Restoration Party, one of the political parties in that country.
The group says the right of the citizens to vote wherever they are, is entrenched in their Constitution. What they lacked in numbers, they made up for in song and slogans. They say the government of Zimbabwe will not allow the people in the diaspora to vote during the national elections scheduled for next year. They say their message to their government is clear.
“ Whether you are in Indonesia, in Jarkarta you need to be able to vote, whether you are in Brisbane, Australia you need to be able to vote, whether you are in Norway you need to be able to vote, anywhere in the world,” says one of the protestors.
Once you fail to provide those basics including the money to run the election, you cease to be a government
They say it is a right enshrined not only in the Constitution, but in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Deputy President of the Democracy Restoration Party, Brian Mubvumbi, says they cannot accept what has been put forward by their government that the country cannot financially afford to allow voting outside of the country.
“Once you fail to provide those basics including the money to run the election, you cease to be a government, so what are you doing, that’s the important question, we need to make it clear that we are tired, we need to transform our country so that it could be accommodated back into the community of normal nations again.”
Mubvumbi called on the African Union to intervene to make sure that all Zimbabweans are able to vote from foreign countries.
“The AU must start to engage with opposition parties, they must start to realise that it’s not happening with the ruling party Zanu PF, what has failed has failed, you cannot draw water from a rock, it’s not happening, and Zimbabwe is a failed state.”
National Co-ordinator for the Party, Victor Chimhau, weighed in on the recent comments by Zimbabwe’s first lady, Grace Mugabe. She called on President Mugabe to nominate his successor. Chimhau says Zanu PF’s systems has failed, whoever is the leader.
“Any succession issues are not going to provide any solution to the problems that we are facing at the moment, the Zanu PF as a system in its entirety they need to step aside ”
The Zimbabwean Embassy failed to meet with the group and would not give any comment about the protest.