A GROUP of Zimbabweans based in the United Kingdom demonstrated outside 10 Downing Street on Saturday, demanding the British government to intervene and order President Robert Mugabe’s government to allow diasporans to vote in next year’s general elections.
by OWN CORRESPONDENT
The protestors signed a petition under the banner of Zimbabwe Human Rights Organisation (ZHRO) and handed it to British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government, demanding that they be allowed to cast their vote from their host nations. The ZHRO’s other demands include restoration of human rights and democracy, dual citizenship, electoral violence and intimidation.
Speaking before handing in the petition, one of the protestors, Rashiwe Bayisayi said: “In a democratic country you can actually come to the ‘State House’. Police here say they are “lovers not haters — not like in Zimbabwe where there are just haters. We joked and laughed with the police at the UK State House (No 10 Downing Street). Mugabe, this is how it should be done” referring to the receptive nature of the security staff.”
Another protestor, Kingstone Jambawo said casting a vote was a constitutional right for every Zimbabwean citizen just like it is for citizens of other countries.
“We at ZHRO, along with a number of human rights groups, have a countrywide campaign going on. We are asking people, especially Zimbabweans to come and join us in our struggle for real democracy. We need elected, not appointed government officials,” he said.
“We strongly believe that it is part of our human rights to have a say in our country’s political process. Our aim is to have the diaspora voting from their host nations in 2018. So we are going to continue with our cross country instalments.”
Zimbabwe diaspora’s right to vote is enshrined in the Constitution, which was adopted in 2013. But, Registrar-General Tobaiwa recently threatened to reverse the clock, by refusing to align the provision, with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
Currently, Zimbabwe, through the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, affords civil servants serving on foreign missions a right to vote, while those living and working abroad are denied the same right, possibly out of fear they would vote for the opposition.