RE: DIASPORA VOTE
The people of the Republic of Zimbabwe have converged in confronting the ruling government to implement outstanding electoral reforms as per the new constitution which was adopted in 2013. Two years later the ruling party continues to delay and circumvent the issue of electoral reform. The prevailing socio-political and economic crisis in the country is an outcome of the legitimacy crisis that has haunted the ruling party due to the persistent electoral manipulation. Download the Petition NOW!
The National Electoral Reforms Agenda (NERA) is convinced that 2018 is the ultimate turning point in the electoral history of the country. The ruling party has invested massively in retaining power through undemocratic means and if not challenged the prevailing legitimacy crisis will persist.
We are writing this letter to discuss the issue of the Diaspora Vote. First and foremost, NERA supports the right to vote for the Diaspora as stipulated by the Constitution. According the Constitution, ALL Zimbabweans who were born in Zimbabwe have the right to vote in elections in Zimbabwe. ZEC is supposed to ensure that it puts in place administrative and other mechanisms in place to ensure that every Zimbabwean, regardless of their physical location, exercises this Constitutional Right. It has been exceedingly difficult to get the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to agree to accommodate the Diaspora Vote. ZEC has expressed that the lack of resources and failure for government to align the constitution
Due to the dwindling, economic and political situation in Zimbabwe over the years over two million Zimbabweans have left Zimbabwe and are now living in the Diaspora. Zimbabweans are living in South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi. Kenya, Europe. Majority being in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, United States and other countries.
NERA is contacting you and various organisations to assist in facilitation of the Diaspora Vote. We are proposing the following
· Assistance with Facilitation of Diaspora Vote in Neutral Voting Polling Locations in Diaspora and if that cannot be done
· Assistance Facilitation with Transportation for the Diaspora to Come home for Voter Registration and Voting
· As an organisation NERA is in the process of setting up ways to Facilitate Vote Education in the Diaspora and would also appreciate any assistance with facilitation
We are also proposing the following safeguards to ensure authenticity of Diaspora Vote. NERA is fighting extremely hard to ensure the authenticity of the vote in Zimbabwe thus NERA wants to ensure that Diaspora Vote is not manipulated and rigged by ZANU PF to betray the wishes of the Zimbabwean and prolong the suffering of the masses. NERA supports the right to vote for the Diaspora however we must ensure that the same safe guards we are demanding for elections conducted in Zimbabwe are also implemented for elections that may take place in the Diaspora for Zimbabwean Citizens
1. Elections must be held in a Neutral location. Zimbabwean Embassies in the Diaspora are not Neutral locations as they are controlled by ZANU PF
2. The Voter's Roll Must be made public to allow proper verification of all listed voters (In the past names of dead people have appeared on the Voter's Roll.
3. Independent Observers and Monitors must be at every polling station
4. Independent and Neutral Accredited Monitors must be there ensuring the safety of all ballots from the polling station in Diaspora to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission destination point and until ballots have been certified and counted by Neutral Observers
5. Independent Biometric Technical Support must be used to verify and check authenticity of the Biometric Voter Registration System
6. Specific Polling Stations must be identified and verified by stakeholders to ensure location meets specifications to allow for free and fair elections
7. Neutral Security Personal must be used for every polling station.
8. Independent accredited personal must be utilized for vote counting and Vote certification.
9. Enough time and Programs must be made available that Diaspora Voter Education and Voter Registration programs are conducted
10. The number of extra Ballot papers must be verified before voting begins.
11. All voters requiring assistance must declare their need for voter assistance at the point of registration to ensure neutral personal are utilized to assist the voters
12. All Diasporans wishing to vote must be educated on documentation necessary to authenticate their citizenship for Zimbabwe .
NERA is also launching a Diaspora Citizens Petition to galvanise Citizens in the Diaspora who wish to take part in the 2018 election. NERA will also be seeking court action to fight for the Diaspora Vote and Safeguards.
We therefore look forward to your favourable response.