Zimbabwe Election: Tsvangirai targeted Zimbabweans in the diaspora
ABOUT 1,500 Zimbabweans attended a rally in Johannesburg Saturday – the first of a series around the world by Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) leader Morgan Tsvangirai to woo voters home ahead of elections next year.
Zimbabwe’s constitution does not allow nationals living outside the country to vote, other than staff at foreign missions. There are an estimated 3-million Zimbabweans in the diaspora, with more than 1-million said to be in SA.
Tsvangirai did not attend the rally in Tembisa as he was said to be held up on government business in London. He was represented by other senior party leaders, including MDC-T national chairman Lovemore Moyo.
“We are holding this campaign now because people will be going home for the festive season soon and they should use this time to go and register to vote,” MDC-T chairman in SA Kwanele Moyo said on Sunday.
Zimbabweans in the diaspora were not only being targeted because of their large numbers, but also because of the influence they had in Zimbabwe, Moyo said.
“In most cases they are the main breadwinners, so if they register, they can influence their whole families to vote for a certain party,” he said.
However, Institute for Security Studies researcher Hamadziripi Tamukamoyo suggested the MDC-T should pay more attention to voters in Zimbabwe.
“I do not think the MDC-T should rely on those in the diaspora for numbers. We have enough people in Zimbabwe who are interested in what is going on there,” he said on Sunday.
Tamukamoyo said the resolution of several election-related matters would allow Zimbabweans in the diaspora to decide whether or not they wanted to go home to cast their ballots.
“What they (MDC-T) need to focus on is ensuring a more transparent election, a fair ballot, a constitution, a conducive election environment and an updated voters’ roll,” he said.
Ruling party Zanu PF deputy secretary for legal affairs Patrick Chinamasa was quoted in local media as saying Tsvangirai was wasting his time and money on the diaspora campaign, as those Zimbabweans would not be allowed to vote.
MDC-T rallies have been scheduled for next year across provinces in SA. The party has also targeted Zimbabweans living in other countries such as Botswana, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Botswana, the United States and the UK.