By Nomusa Garikai- “People want to come back home and contribute in developing their nation but are being hindered by the ever rising cost of living, unstable economic environment, erratic power supply.
The financial muscle within the diaspora can make a difference in the Zimbabwean political discourse only if they are allowed to have a say in the day to day of running the government,” argued Leonard Koni in his recent article
“The diaspora is very hungry for change and want the country to do better. Criticising the leadership does not amount to self hate.
“Zimbabweans in the diaspora have proved to be a force to reckon with. They want to be part and parcel of this historical change.”
I totally agree with you, many Zimbabweans in the diaspora are desperate to see real change so they can finally go back to Zimbabwe. “Home is home, there is no place like home!” so goes the old adage. And it is true.
Of course, Zimbabweans in the diaspora, like many back home, know there will never be any meaningful economic change in Zimbabwe as long as Zanu PF remains in office and gross mismanagement, rampant corruption and lawlessness and tyrannical rule continue to rule the land.
It is no secret that most Zimbabweans in the diaspora blame the de facto Zanu PF dictatorship for the nation’s troubles and, naturally, these men and women will never vote for Zanu PF, come the elections. Of course, Zanu PF knows that and, more pointedly, know the party will not find it as ease to rig the diaspora vote as the local vote. And so, it was no surprise to hear Patrick Chinamasa, Acting National Political Commissar, confirm that Zanu PF will not be granting Zimbabweans in the diaspora the vote in the coming 2023 elections.
It was President Mnangagwa himself who said Zimbabweans in the diaspora will vote in 2023. He made the promise during his September 2018 visit to New York for the annual UN General Assembly Heads of State and Government jamboree.
He was desperate to win some political legitimacy given Zimbabwe had just gone through the July 2018 elections which anyone with any democratic credentials had dismissed as a farce. The regime had denied Zimbabweans in the diaspora the vote and had failed to produce something as basic as a verified voters’ roll!
So when push came to shove, Mnangagwa could not honour his promise to restore the right of Zimbabweans in the diaspora to a meaningful vote. His desire to retain his iron grip on political power by rigging the elections had the better of him.
What is really disheartening is the lack of common sense by Zimbabweans in the diaspora and at home who bury their heads in the sand and refuse to see the sheer futility of participating in these flawed and illegal elections. Beside denying 3 million plus Zimbabweans in the diaspora the vote, or 30% plus of the eligible electorate; Zanu PF has 1001 other vote rigging shenanigans.
How can an election process in which 30% plus of the electorate are denied the vote be legal, free, fair and credible?
Zanu PF is set to rig the 2023 elections just as blatantly as the party rigged the 2018, 2013, etc. elections. And by participating in these flawed and illegal elections the nation will give vote rigging Zanu PF legitimacy, again for the umpteenth time!
“The government must allow the voice of the diaspora to be heard and not not denying them the chance to vote,” argued Koni.
After 41 years of rigged elections one would think that by now the penny would have finally dropped that this Zanu PF regime cares more about rigging elections and staying in power at all costs and does not give a damn about respecting the people’s freedoms and rights including the right to a meaningful vote and even the right to life.
There will be no meaningful change in Zimbabwe until Zimbabweans open their eyes and minds to the reality that Zimbabwe is not a healthy and functioning democratic nation but rather a de facto one-party dictatorship, a pariah state.
If we want meaningful economic and political change then we must first implement the democratic reforms designed to dismantle the dictatorship and stop the vote rigging. To pretend we can have meaningful change and still have the corrupt and tyrannical dictatorship, especially after 41 years of rigged elections, is insane, to say the least!