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Diasporans to hold mock elections
The Financial Gazette (Zimbabwe)
March 17, 2005

IRATE non-resident Zimbabweans, who have been barred from taking part in the March 31 parliamentary polls, are going to stage mock elections on that same day to express their anger at being excluded from the polls.

The Diaspora Vote Action Group (DVAG), which recently laun-ched a legal challenge to be allowed to vote in their current domiciles, said it was going to stage mock elections in various parts of the world.
The South Africa chapter of the DVAG said will conduct the elections in Pretoria, in front of the Zimba-bwean embassy.

The elections will also be followed by demonstrations, said spokesperson for the movement, Daniel Molokela who is also a human rights lawyer.

Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) from Zimbabwe and South Africa as well as human rights activists from that country are also expected to join hands in picketing the embassy.

Molokela said Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition was playing an instrumental role in organising the mock elections.

Other mock elections are also planned in Australia and United Kingdom. Both countries have significant populations of Zimbabweans resident there.

It is estimated that more 3.4 million Zimbabweans, who are eligible voters, are living and working abroad.
More than two million Zimbabweans are estimated to be living and working in neighbouring South Africa. Molokela said more than 12 buses would be used to pick up Zimbabweans from designated points to Pretoria for the mock elections.

"Voting will be done in Pretoria at the Zimbabwean embassy where polling booths are going to be erected. After the elections there will be picketing where solidarity speeches will be delivered," Molokela told The Financial Gazette.

"We want to register our concern about the failure of democracy in Zimbabwe, to tell the whole world that we are not happy at being excluded from voting in our motherland," he said.

Molokela also said his group had concerns over Zimbabwe’s election processes, which he said had a lot of shortcomings.

Concerns over Harare’s ability to conduct free and fair polls also comes at a time when government has invited observers from friendly nations, while spurning perceived critics of the ZANU PF government.

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