MDC-T calls on Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to return home and register to vote

MDC Spokesman Obert Gutu

The Movement for Democratic Change has called on all Zimbabweans including those in the Diaspora to register as voters when the exercise kicks off tomorrow.

Party spokesman Obert Gutu said those in the Diaspora should sacrifice and return home to register because every vote counts.

“Our fight for the Diaspora vote continues unabated but in the interim, Zimbabweans in the Diaspora are kindly called upon to do the honourable and patriotic duty of coming back home to register to vote,” Gutu said.

“The millions of Zimbabweans in the South African Diaspora are humbly urged to cross the border into the town of Beitbridge where they can register to vote before they can return to their foreign bases.”

The voter registration exercise will end in mid-January with elections expected anytime up to August.

Opposition parties which formed the MDC Alliance have already endorsed Morgan Tsvangirai as their presidential candidate while Robert Mugabe will stand for the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.

All eligible Zimbabweans must be able to register to vote

The democratic notion of one person one vote was one of the key pillars and rallying points of the armed liberation struggle against racist colonial exploitation and subjugation.

As a social democratic political party, the MDC fervently believes in and indeed, passionately advocates for a situation in which all eligible Zimbabweans, without exception, are able to exercise their constitutional right not only to register to vote but also to be able to freely and fairly cast their ballot on polling day.

The MDC welcomes the fact that ZEC is launching a nationwide BVR exercise commencing on Tuesday, October 10, 2017. This is a historic exercise that must, without fail, cover each and one of the country’s 1958 wards. Mobile BVR teams should be capacitated to reach even the most remote of the country’s wards. By the time that the mobile BVR exercise comes to a halt in January, 2018, no single eligible Zimbabwean should be left out in the registration process.

Thousands of gallant sons and daughters of the soil paid the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that we obtain the one person one vote principle. Thus, we shouldn’t betray these gallant and selfless heroes and heroines by deliberately disenfranchising eligible Zimbabweans.

We have millions of second, third and even fourth generation Zimbabweans of all races and ethnic background. These are people whose parents, grandparents and great grandparents originally came from neighbouring countries such as Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Namibia, Botswana and some of these people’s ancestors also came from overseas countries such as the United Kingdom, France, Portugal, Italy, Germany and many other countries. These people consider Zimbabwe to be their permanent home and it is actually degrading and insulting to continue to refer to these people as aliens.

The word ‘alien’ smacks of discrimination and segregation. This word should actually be immediately removed from our vocabulary if we are to foster a united and patriotic Republic of Zimbabwe in which there is no discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, creed, ethnicity and religion.

ZEC have a mammoth task on their hands to register all eligible Zimbabweans as voters. We hope and trust that the national treasury will ensure that ZEC is adequately financed and capacitated to undertake a thorough and all–embracing BVR exercise.

The MDC would like to take this opportunity to, once again, call upon all eligible Zimbabweans, including those people living in the Diaspora, to make sure that they sacrifice and come back home to enable them to register to vote. Our fight for the Diaspora vote continues unabated but in the interim, Zimbabweans in the Diaspora are kindly called upon to do the honourable and patriotic duty of coming back  home to register to vote. The millions of Zimbabweans in the South African Diaspora are humbly urged to cross the border into the town of Beitbridge where they can register to vote before they can return to their foreign bases.

We are acutely aware that there are several issues surrounding the BVR exercise that have to be ironed out by ZEC. These issues relate to the servers or the central computer system that will be used to store and transmit data. The MDC is very pleased to advise all stakeholders that our ICT experts and related technocrats are working round the clock to make sure that these servers will not be manipulated in order to rig next year’s election. Our eyes and ears are firmly and securely on the ball. We are leaving absolutely nothing to chance. Once beaten, twice shy.

After the BVR exercise has been completed, the MDC and other stakeholders have put in place a mechanism that will ensure the thorough and exhaustive audit of the national voters’ roll by a firm of reputable and independent experts. Thus, there is absolutely no reason for Zimbabweans to be apathetic this time around. We should know that the Zanu PF dictatorship has always subsisted on voter apathy; particularly in the urban areas.

The youth constitute more than 64% of eligible voters and we also call upon them to come out in their millions to register to vote. The future of our great country belongs to the youth and as such, we look forward to the enthusiastic participation of our youths in the electoral processes.

Election 2018 offers a golden opportunity for the people of Zimbabwe to define a brand new democratic and progressive trajectory for our country. Our Presidential candidate in 2018 is none other than the indefatigable, tried and tested democratic fighter, Morgan Richard Tsvangirai.

Dr. Tsvangirai has already been endorsed by the MDC Alliance as our 2018 Presidential candidate. We should now register to vote and make sure that on polling day next year, all of us cast a vote for the MDC Alliance as well as the MDC Alliance Presidential candidate, Dr. Morgan Tsvangirai.

The national economy is a total mess and more than 90% of Zimbabweans are now surviving on less than US$1 per day. It is our patriotic duty as Zimbabweans to vote out of power the insipidly corrupt and faction–ridden Zanu PF regime. Every vote counts. We are in the process of structuring a progressive and attractive manifesto that will effectively speak to all our policies covering education, land reform, health, mining, international relations, sport, persons with disabilities etc. We are on an irrevocable mission to usher in an accountable, transparent, efficient and hands – on government after the elections next year.

From the ruins of Zimbabwe, we are determined to create the Great Zimbabwe. This can only be done if all eligible Zimbabweans play their part by registering to vote and also casting their ballot on election day. We have got a unique opportunity to chart a new and refreshing destiny for our mighty motherland in next year’s elections. The Zanu PF regime has completely lost focus and Robert Mugabe himself is long overdue for retirement. Surely, we cannot entrust the future of our great country in the hands of an old man who will soon be 100 years old.

MDC: Equal Opportunities for All
Obert Chaurura Gutu
MDC National Spokesperson