Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Rita Makarau
Zimbabwe has never had money for anything: salaries, drought relief, money to print textbooks (the last batch of textbooks were printed by donors – coordinated by UNICEF). Obviously there may not be money for elections because the Zanu PF Government officials use government resources for themselves, as evident by the one who is called the President of the country, Robert Mugabe, who can afford to go on a week long holiday in Singapore and Malaysia with all his grandchildren, daughters, wives, cats and dogs at government expense. How surely can the country save any money with a president who is flying out of the country for a greater part of the year.
How can the country be productive when the Jonathan Moyos of the country spend at will on their personal hobbies and buying votes through buying motorbikes and scotch carts using money meant to strengthen the human resource of the country.
Yes, the money is not there because everyone now knows where it is going, but Makarau’s quick dismissal of the Diaspora votes is out of the knowledge that the Diaspora vote may turn the tables against his pay masters, so she would rather the Diaspora based Zimbabweans do not vote.
What happens when there are signs of starvation? Government sends out a begging bowl and money is raised. The same should happen with the money to prepare for the Diaspora vote. Voting is a human right issue, and every human being has the right to exercise their vote, and that is why one man one vote was a key issue driving the liberation war of Zimbabwe. Voting is a developmental issue, and I am sure the United Nations will be prepared to support that process through various of its agencies such as the Human Rights Commission, United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Commission for Refugees.
Above all, some of the Diaspora Zimbabweans may be willing to contribute towards their right to vote. I know of a few who actually fly back to Zimbabwe during election time to vote, so they surely will be able to contribute towards their vote.
Mozambican nationals in Zimbabwe vote in Zimbabwe during their elections – has Rita ever thought of consulting with the Mozambican election authorities how they fund that process? What role does the Government of Zimbabwe play in the Mozambican Diaspora elections? If any, wouldn’t be the countries where Zimbabweans are domiciled be able to offer the same support?
By wanting to block the opportunity for Diaspora based Zimbabweans to participate in electing their leaders, Rita is proving that she is either incompetent or reluctant to get things done, and whatever of the two scenarios the case may be, she just has to resign and let those capable of delivering do the job.
The Diaspora based Zimbabweans are playing a major role in Zimbabwe’s economy, and they deserve better. It has been officially acknowledged that their remittances are keeping the country running. Day in and day out we read about various activities our Diaspora brothers and sisters are doing for the country. We have read about Government’s plans lure the Diaspora to contribute more, but their right to vote must come first.
Makarau’s strategy needs to be urgently countered. It’s a delaying tactic meant to buy time so that the opposition will agree to go into the elections without complete reform as elections are now less than two years away. Civic society, human rights champions globally, the opposition parties in Zimbabwe and the Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora must unite to block Rita Makarau and Zanu PF.
Rita Makarau, shape up or ship out.