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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Let my vote count, Lord; for the sake of so many
    Chinga Govhati
    July 26, 2013

    When I cast my vote for my preferred local councillor, parliamentary representative and presidential candidate on the 31st of July 2013, it will not just be for myself, so it has to count. It has to count because quite a great deal is at stake. My vote will be important because it has been carefully considered. It is also a vote for those who will not be able to cast theirs on the set date; yes, especially those. My vote will represent the hopes and aspirations of so many people; chief amongst these are those excluded in terms of Section 155(2) (a) of the new constitution. These are those who are not considered eligible citizens under the Fourth Schedule of the same constitution. These are, according to this schedule under its Section 1(1), those not of or under the age of 18 years and those who are not Zimbabwean citizens (even though they may consider Zimbabwe their home). My vote will also be conscious of those disqualified to register as voters in terms of Section 2(a-c) of the Fourth Schedule to the Constitution. These are those “detained as mentally disordered or intellectually handicapped”, those “declared by order of a court to be incapable of managing (their) affairs” and those “convicted of an offence under the Electoral Law and declared by the High Court to be disqualified”.

    My vote will also represent the wishes and ambitions of those excluded by the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13). Amongst these are those who are not covered by Sections 72 and 81 of that Act. These are those who are not able to vote by post as they are neither “on duty in the service of the Government” nor are “the spouse of (such) a person.” Also included are those not entitled to special voting either because they “will (not) be an electoral officer” or they are not “a member of a disciplined force who will be performing security duties during the election.”

    My vote will also have to count for that person who is not yet 18 and is disqualified as defined under Section 1(1)(a) of the Fourth Schedule to the Constitution of Zimbabwe, even though they are the most vulnerable members of the society. They do not vote because they do not have legal capacity to do so yet they are the most affected if the process becomes marred by actions of the eligible voters. Amongst this class of citizens is the child who has not been attending school because they are an orphan who has been forced to work in order to sustain themselves or their siblings. Also amongst such is that child who has been forced into early marriage by the socio-economic realities of their situation. I am also thinking of that child who is on the streets because their family environment is no longer conducive for their upbringing. Not to be left out is that child who is in prison with their mother or who is in prison because they were in conflict with the law. I am also thinking of that child who is differently-abled and that child who has been prejudiced for a long time because they are unregistered, maybe because their parents failed to have them registered when they were still alive or because their parents are themselves unregistered for one reason or the other. All children who have been are being abused in various ways look to me for hope. I may not be able to single-handedly change their situations; all I can do is play my part.

    Of course, there are so many who will not vote on the selected date; either because they are far away from their constituencies or may not, for some reason, be able to go there to cast their vote. These could include those in prison or those outside the country. I will also be representing them but my special representation is for those who will not be exercising this right any time soon; the children of Zimbabwe! My vote has to be for them; for the choices they would have made if given a chance. It thus has to be a responsible vote. My vote is also for myself. My aspirations and wishes as a patriotic citizen. It will be for the restoration of my dignity as a woman and as a professional. That may sound selfish but like I said earlier on, so much is at stake. So Lord, that is why my vote has to count; DO MAKE IT COUNT PLEASE! That’s my prayer.

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