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MDC-T be warned on diaspora vote
Clifford Chitupa Mashiri
July 18, 2011

One could argue that, in the forthcoming elections, the Diaspora vote could be potentially MDC-s most effective means of sweeping to power. However, reports that the Movement for Democratic Change led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai appears helpless in safeguarding that vote in this month-s Electoral Amendment Bill could have far-reaching implications.

If Mugabe can just change any law unilaterally, regardless of the will of the people as expressed through their representatives in parliament, so why is MDC in Parliament? Presidential temporary emergency powers and the prerogative of mercy which have been abused at election time can be abolished or amended so as to be vetoed by Parliament among many checks and balances which are long overdue on the Zimbabwe-s executive presidency.

It would be very reckless and suicidal for MDC-T to lend Zanu-PF a hand in disenfranchising millions of Zimbabweans who were forced to leave the country due to circumstances beyond their control and are living under very difficult conditions abroad hoping for one opportunity to vote the regime out of power peacefully.

Ensuring that the Diaspora vote is restored in the Electoral Amendment Bill is the sole responsibility of the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC led by Welshman Ncube since Zanu-PF is opposed to it. To safeguard the Diaspora vote is not an act of charity. It is a national duty. The experience of the GNU has been so agonising and regrettable that no sane person wants it for any day longer.

MDC-T and of course the other MDC and Zanu-PF are better advised not to underestimate the power of the Diaspora to campaign vigorously against any injustices perpetrated by the coalition government in Harare. Feigning poverty in order to deny millions of displaced Zimbabweans of their right to vote in the most decisive and historic poll would be grossly mischievous and short-sighted.

Given the traditional Zanu-PF ritual of politically motivated violence, abductions, torture, murder and destruction of property, any hope of free and fair elections in Zimbabwe minus the Diaspora vote is irresponsible.

The MDC-T will have no-one to blame but itself if the Diaspora is disenfranchised through the Electoral Amendment Bill now before Parliament. Similarly, MDC-T should not underestimate the ability of the millions of people in the Diaspora to fight for their democratic right to vote and even if it means falling out with former allies.

One would have thought that the MDC-T has learnt enough lessons from its experience in the coalition with Zanu-PF-s perennial cry of anti-sanctions. Today it-s Zanu-PFmoaning about targeted sanctions and asset freezes. Inevitably, there will be new candidates if the MDC succeeds in disenfranchising millions of Zimbabweans forced to live as second-class citizens abroad, thanks to Mugabe-s dictatorship.

Enough is enough, especially after the MDC agreed to the Electoral Amendment Bill in its flawed condition in Cabinet and also voted for the Chinese loan deal for a spy centre which has the potential of causing human rights violations in Zimbabwe. What more harm is worse than disenfranchising your own people? Don-t say we did not warn you.

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