South Africa: Country Urged to Ensure Diaspora Vote

5 October 2011:

The South African facilitators in Zimbabwe’s political crisis have been urged to ensure that the Diaspora will be able to vote, as part of a roadmap towards elections.

The Diaspora vote has been completely excluded from talk of reforms in Zimbabwe, despite more than four million Zim nationals said to be living out of the country. Instead, only government officials have been given permission to vote outside the country.

The Johannesburg Zimbabwe Exiles Forum has now met with South Africa’s Lindiwe Zulu, the chief facilitator in President Jacob Zuma’s mediation team. The Forum’s Executive Director, Gabriel Shumba, told SW Radio Africa this week that Zulu has promised that the facilitation team “will do all we can to assist” in getting the Diaspora voting rights.

“Ambassador Zulu told us that they are going to meet with the principals in the unity government later this month, and she said she will raise some issues for clarification, including the Diaspora vote,” Shumba explained.

He added: “The Diaspora’s right to vote is a fundamental one that we are not requesting but demanding. Any election without considering the vote of the displaced communities in the Diaspora is illegitimate.”

Meanwhile Zulu told that same meeting that Security Sector reform is another issue set to be raised with Zimbabwe’s government principals later this month. She said that all the necessary reforms for a free, fair and democratic election must be made, including reforms to the “holy cows” like the Security Sector. Zulu added that what Zimbabweans want is “hope, security, political space, freedom, human rights and leaders that keep promises and are accountable to their people.”