By Moses Chibaya
ZIMBABWEANS living abroad should be allowed to cast their votes in next year’s harmonised elections, Masvingo residents told a portfolio committee on Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on Friday.
The country’s constitution promulgated in 2013, allows Zimbabweans living in the diaspora to exercise their right to vote but government is yet to align the law with the supreme law of the land.
The Masvingo public hearing was chaired by Marondera Central legislator Lawrence Katsiru whose committee is on a countrywide tour soliciting for public views on the Electoral Amendment and Insolvency Bills.
The Electoral Amendment Bill seeks to address inadequacies in the current Electoral Act in terms of the administration of the voter registration process.
The country is heading towards a watershed election next year with over a million Zimbabweans living outside the country’s boarders hoping to be involved in an exercise which has been denied to them in recent years.
This is despite the diaspora community pumping close to a billion dollars in the fragile Zimbabwean economy through remittances, trade and skills development.
“Diasporans are playing a critical role in the development of this country through money they are sending back home, but nothing is being done by the government to recognise their efforts towards the country’s development.
“The right for those living outside the country to vote should be clearly included and stated in the country’s electoral statues,” said Zivanai Muzorozi during the public hearing held at Masvingo Civic center.
Residents also called for the Justice Rita Makarau led electoral commission to be disbanded for allegedly failing to run the commission in a transparent manner.
Katsiru appreciated the peaceful atmosphere during the hearing and said his committee had noted every concern highlighted by people of Masvingo and shall be included in the Bill.