Mnangagwa working on diaspora vote

A Zimbabwe Electoral Commissioon (ZEC) official checks names in the voter roll register which critics say has been padded out with babies, the dead and bogus names in the past to help rig elections

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa agrees with the principle of Zimbabweans living outside the country being allowed to vote, and his administration is looking into the logistical issues between now and the next general election in 2023.

The President made this revelation while interacting with Zimbabweans living in the United States in New York on Sunday.

President Mnangagwa indicated a vote for Diasporans may well have been implemented for the recent 2018 elections – which he and his Zanu-PF party swept – but his Government had not had enough time to thrash out all the attendant logistical issues.

President Mnangagwa only assumed the helm of Zimbabwean politics in November 2017 when Zanu-PF, as the majority in Parliament, nominated him to complete Mr Robert Mugabe’s term of office after the latter resigned following pressure from his own party and from legislators who wanted to impeach him.

Zimbabweans living outside the country have for decades called for the right to vote, which is not captured in existing electoral laws, and on Sunday President Mnangagwa said he agreed with them.

“As you are fully aware, every five years we have to submit ourselves to seek a new mandate to govern.

So I did proclaim a general election on the 30th of July this year.

“As I went around (different) countries I met … our Zimbabweans in the Diaspora who insisted on wanting to have an opportunity to vote.

“I agree with that request but we were not able, in the time available, to have the logistics put into place to implement that objective. We now have five years where we can work on that objective where we can see whether we can implement it,” President Mnangagwa said.

Zimbabwe’s voting system is polling station-based, meaning people cast ballots at specific centres in their areas of residence in the country.

However, people on Government service abroad can cast postal ballots.

On Sunday, President Mnangagwa also updated the Zimbabwean Diaspora in the US about the recent electoral process. “Our elections were premised on a platform of non-violence peace unity, love for our country,” he said.

“For the very first time we had a very peaceful campaign and every single political party had the opportunity to exercise their democratic right to campaign and seek support from our people.”