The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has sponsored a model comprehensive electoral law and petitioned Parliament of Zimbabwe to consider. The model law encapsulates external voting as one of the new proposals. Speaking at a workshop to discuss possibility of such in Kariba, the Speaker of Parliament, Advocate Jacob Mudenda, said that the Zimbabwean Constitution needs to be amended to allow for the diaspora vote.
He also added that the Electoral Act must be changed to clearly specify the procedures and mechanisms for registration and voting for citizens in the diaspora. Considering the traditional resistance to granting voting rights to Zimbabweans abroad, these remarks were perceived to be a “Damascus moment”. The speaker called for constitutional amendment at a platform where the model law under discussion was premised on the assumption that the constitution already allows diaspora voting via Section 67(3). The media on the 30th May and the preceding days was awash with the news that the Speaker of Parliament has called for the granting of voting rights to Zimbabweans residing outside the country.
His remarks triggered backlash from his fellow ZANU PF colleagues. In addition to triggering a backlash from fellow party members, the remarks triggered debates amongst Zimbabweans as to the desirability and feasibility of external voting in Zimbabwe, particularly as the country heads towards the 2023 elections.
This paper is an attempt to contribute to this debate through analyzing its desirability and feasibility following the Constitutional Court ruling on the matter. It must be noted from the onset, that Zimbabwe is internationally recognized as providing some form of external voting (for government workers) and therefore reform seeks for broader external voting.
Download full paper here (6.7MB)
Source: Collen Chibango and Shadreck Vengesa, Tutuma Publications