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reasoning for Diaspora vote denial still under wraps
Alex Bell, SW Radio Africa
September 16, 2013
Court is yet to provide any reasoning for its decision to dismiss
an application that was seeking to allow Zimbabweans in the Diaspora
the right to vote, which analysts have said casts even more doubt
the credibility of the July polls.
The case was
filed by South African based Zimbabwean citizen Tawengwa Bukaibenyu
last year, in a bid to secure his right and the rights of other
Zimbabweans to vote. His case challenged the barring of postal ballots
for exiled Zimbabweans, which he said violated his right to choose
his country’s government.
The then Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede
opposed the application arguing that the process of allowing Zimbabweans
in the Diaspora to vote was prohibitively costly and a burden to
The case was
then dismissed by the Constitutional Court just weeks before the
general elections on July 31st, with no reasons being given. The
decision effectively prevented millions of Zimbabweans, who now
live in Diaspora communities around the world, a chance to cast
is also at odds with a provisional order handed down in February
2013 by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights,
in a case filed Zimbabweans in the Diaspora also seeking their right
to vote from outside the country. The African Commission ordered
the Zimbabwe government to allow Zimbabweans living abroad to vote
in the March constitutional referendum and the elections that followed,
by making postal voting facilities available.
the African Commission’s rules of procedure, a provisional
ruling is binding. But there has been no attempt by the Zim government
to abide by or even acknowledge the order.
Den Moyo, the
Chairman of the Diaspora Vote Campaign told SW Radio Africa that
a dangerous precedent of non-compliance with binding rules is being
set by African groups, over the Zimbabwe situation.
a serious problem in African politics, when even court rulings are
ignored. In the case of Zimbabwe, we know the African Union court
voted in our favour and Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, and that was
ignored by the Mugabe regime for obvious reasons. It sets a bad
precedent that those rules and laws can be disregarded,” Moyo
Moyo also said
that the government’s refusal to allow the Zimbabwean Diaspora
to vote from the outside the country “is a blow to democracy.”
is serious about being recognised in the international community
as a country that respects democracy, then they should be serious
about allowing all citizens an equal right to vote,” Moyo
that there is already “no doubt” that the election was
not credible, with the regional SADC bloc bending its own rules
that govern democratic elections to cater for Zanu-PF’s victory.
SADC is being disingenuous in them proclaiming this election to
be credible, when they know that their own conditions for free and
fair elections have not been followed,” Moyo said.
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