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of Zimbabweans in national elections
Parliament of Zimbabwe
November 10, 2004
asked the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to
explain why the Zimbabwe Government is not going to amend the Electoral
Act to allow citizens residing outside the country to vote when
the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections
signed by President Mugabe and other Heads of State in Mauritius
in August provide for the right of all citizens to participate in
their national elections, and Mozambican citizens will be allowed
to vote at their Harare Embassy.
OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFIARS (Mr CHINAMASA):
Madam Speaker, our electoral system is constituency based and as
such gives the right to vote to a Zimbabwean citizen who is resident
in a particular constituency. As Minister of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs, I have an obligation to uphold the Constitution
and the law. For the rest, I would respectfully ask Hon Stevenson
to refer to the answer I gave to the question posed by Hon member
Mr Chirowamhangu last week. Suffice to say that the SADC Principles
and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections are not a law. They
are not a Protocol. They are not enforceable. They merely provide
principles and guidelines. They recognise that SADC countries are
at different stages of development or evolution in the sphere of
democratic traditions, institutions and systems and that some countries
such as Angola and the DRC have not yet held any elections. Swaziland
does not have any Constitution.
in the region are grappling within their unique circumstances and
history to forge a democratic path to a better tomorrow. The comparisons
that you have drawn between Mozambique and Zimbabwe are clearly
not appropriate. Mozambique is not further under sanctions. It is
not under siege. The Mozambican political and business leadership,
whether belonging to the ruling and opposition parties, are not
under any travel ban from any country to which their people have
migrated. In any event, unlike the Mozambican authorities, we have,
in the past been subjected to unjustified and unwarranted criticism
from MDC against postal voting. MDC spoke critically against allowing
soldiers who wee in the DRC in 1999 to vote in the 2000 and 2002
Elections. MDC needs to be reminded that it made the most noise
over allowing soldiers to vote in the 2000 and 20002 Presidential
elections. The opposition must learn to take a principled position
and not to contradict itself frequently. We know that opportunism
is their forte but it should not be done to mislead Zimbabwean people
both here and abroad.
let me say that the Zimbabweans in the Diaspora are fully patriotic
towards their country. They know they are being fed on a diet of
false and malicious propaganda by MDC and its international allies.
They are fully aware that Zimbabwean authorities and business leaders
suffer from a travel ban which prevents them from visiting them
and interacting with them freely. We have of course not forgotten
that when the Governor of the Reserve Bank, Dr Gono travelled to
the UK MDC lobbied the British Government to cancel his visa so
as to prevent Zimbabweans in the Diaspora from being addressed by
Zimbabwean authorities. Similar illegal actions were perpetrated
by the MDC against the Governor of the Reserve Bank when he travelled
to the United States and South Africa. My advice to the Hon Ms Stevenson
is that when she speaks on these matters, she must not speak with
a forked tongue.
Is the Minister implying that politicians from America, Britain,
Botswana or Mozambique come to Zimbabwe and campaign to their citizens
before an election? If so, could he give some examples of that,
because I do not see that happening?
The Hon member is obviously not aware of the leadership from Mozambique
which has been holding rallies in this country. They estimate the
Mozambican population to have been around 50 000. They were only
able to register about 5 000 but they have been here holding rallies
country-wide in order to canvas for support.
My first supplementary question is that would the Hon Minister advise
this House whether there are any travel bans of any nature which
prevent his Government from travelling within the SADC area and
that is preventing them from campaigning?
of that, my understanding of the situation is that there are no
bans in place against members of the Government and given that position
why is it that the Government’s policy is to deny Zimbabweans resident
in the SADC an opportunity to vote in the forthcoming election?
If we introduce a rule it must be done in a non discriminatory manner.
You cannot provide one rule for those who are in Zambia and a different
rule for Zimbabweans who are in Australia. That is discriminatory
This august House recently passed an amendment to the Citizenship
Act that specifically related to certain countries in SADC. That
was discriminatory. If we can grant particular rights to our citizens
who come from Zambia or Malawi, why cannot the same privilege be
extended in reverse to Zimbabweans who live in the SADC?
The example given is not appropriate. On the example he referred
to, we were giving and extending citizenship to people who have
been here for years.
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