The promise of a Diaspora vote by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, once seen as a beacon of hope for Zimbabweans living abroad, has been nothing but a broken promise. Elections in Zimbabwe are only a few months away, and yet, nothing has been done to implement the voting of diasporans.
It is a sad and contemplative reality for Zimbabwean teachers who were sent to Rwanda through a Government-to-Government arrangement, unable to participate in a democratic process that is meant to be free and fair. These teachers, who have left their motherland in search of greener pastures, have been robbed of their right to vote, a right that is enshrined in the constitution of Zimbabwe.
The right to vote is not just a legal right; it is a fundamental human right that allows individuals to have a say in the governance of their country. One of the main reasons why Zimbabweans choose to leave their country is the lack of opportunities, and the promise of a better future. Many hope that a new government can bring change and better opportunities to Zimbabwe, and as such, they have a vested interest in the governance of their country. Yet, the current government has failed to recognize the importance of the Diaspora vote, leaving Zimbabwean teachers in Rwanda feeling abandoned and disenfranchised.
For these teachers, voting is more than just a symbolic act. It is a way to stay connected to their homeland, and a way to make their voices heard. These teachers left Zimbabwe with the hope of being able to provide for their families, yet, they have been forced to watch from afar as their country slips into further economic and political turmoil. The promise of a Diaspora vote symbolized a glimmer of hope for these teachers, and the government’s failure to deliver on this promise has only added to their disillusionment.
Zimbabwean teachers in Rwanda are not alone in their struggle. Across the world, diasporans are fighting for their right to vote, and Zimbabwe is no exception. However, President Mnangagwa’s failure to deliver on his Diaspora vote promise has left Zimbabweans feeling marginalized and forgotten.
Furthermore, the issue of the Diaspora vote is not just limited to the upcoming elections, but it also affects the overall political participation of Zimbabweans living abroad. Without the ability to vote, many diasporans feel disconnected from their country’s politics and are unable to fully engage in political discussions and advocacy efforts. As a result, there is a risk of a brain drain in which Zimbabweans with valuable skills and resources choose to permanently stay abroad in countries where they have greater political and economic opportunities.
Moreover, the failure to implement the Diaspora vote highlights a broader issue of systemic political exclusion in Zimbabwe. Historically, marginalized communities such as women, youth, and rural populations have also faced significant barriers to political participation. By failing to recognize the importance of the Diaspora vote, the current government is perpetuating a trend of political exclusion that has been prevalent in Zimbabwean politics for many years.
In addition, the current lack of progress on the Diaspora vote can be seen as a missed opportunity for democratisation and inclusion in Zimbabwe. The Diaspora vote can serve as a catalyst for greater civic engagement and participation, and its implementation can be seen as a step towards a more democratic and inclusive Zimbabwe. By not delivering on this promise, the government is undermining its own legitimacy and credibility, as well as its commitment towards democratic norms and values.
Ultimately, the issue of the Diaspora vote highlights the importance of political inclusion and the need for greater engagement and participation in Zimbabwean politics. It is imperative that the government recognizes the significance of the diaspora community and works towards implementing a Diaspora vote system, not just for the upcoming elections but for future elections as well. This is not only a matter of legal rights, but also a matter of moral and ethical responsibility towards all Zimbabweans, regardless of where they may be residing.
Kumbirai Thierry Nhamo |
Writer, Blogger, Poet and Researcher
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