Mobilise Funds, Go Home, Register To Vote: Exiled Zimbabweans Told
NOBUHLE Ajiti, a Zimbabwean immigrant rights activist based in South Africa has urged Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora to mobilise financial resources and travel to Zimbabwe to register to vote ahead of the 2023 elections.
She was speaking during an online discussion last week on the possibilities of the Diaspora vote in Zimbabwe.
The discussion was organised by the Election Resource Centre (ERC) and Women Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE).
Zanu PF says it is targeting five million votes while its main rival – the MDC Alliance – is hoping for six million.
However, Zimbabweans living outside the country are not allowed to vote in countries they are based in despite calls for the government to allow the Diaspora to vote.
Ajiti said there was also no clear structure for Zimbabweans living in other countries on what alternatives they had to be able to exercise their rights and vote.
“In South Africa, there is no clear structure for Zimbabweans. We are just living individual lives or in circles compromised of people who know each from back home,” she said.
“Zimbabweans in South Africa have much easier and affordable access to the internet. It is easy for them to mobilise each other and strategise on how to participate in elections back home.
“I do not see the Zimbabwean government allowing us to vote from abroad. We need to try to find means to participate without provisions Maybe mobilise through non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from here for buses that can ferry people back home.
It is better to mobilise our own resources to hire buses and assist others to get documentation so we actively participate in elections back home.”
Zanu PF says it will not allow Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to vote where they are based as some senior government and ruling party officials on the targeted sanctions list and restricted to travel the West and campaign during elections.
An estimated three million Zimbabweans are living outside the country fleeing from a deteriorating political and economic situation back home.