THE opposition MDC-T party says it will continue to push for the millions of Zimbabweans living outside the country to be allowed to vote in next year’s crunch elections but is concerned about possible abuse of the process.
Addressing supporters in the UK at the weekend, the vice president of the country’s largest opposition party by legislative representation, Thokozani Khupe said she was hopeful diasporans would be allowed to exercise their right to vote.
Zimbabwe holds fresh elections next year, with 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe looking to add to the 37 years he has been in power since independence in 1980.
However, his ruling Zanu PF party refuses to allow non-resident Zimbabweans to vote in countries where they are based, citing supposed logistical challenges.
Political analysts however say, the ruling party fears it wold be punished by exiles who blame its economic mismanagement for forcing them to leave the country.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has also ruled out allowing diaporans to vote where they are domiciled.
Those keen to take part in next year’s elections, ZEC insisted, must travel back home, first to register, and then return next year to cast their ballots.
Even so, addressing supporters in Slough on Saturday, Khupe said the MDC-T was working to ensure Diasporans are allowed to vote where they live.
She however, insisted that there was need to ensure that Mugabe and his Zanu PF party do not used the Diaspora vote opportunity to rig elections.
More than a million Zimbabweans are said to have left the country over the last decade largely to escape the economic collapse back home, most of them settling in neighbouring South Africa.
Khupe said her party was mobilising Zimbabweans based in South Africa to cross the border and register to vote in the border town of Beitbridge.
She added that many MDC-T supporters have also vowed to cross the border again next year and cast their ballots in the southern border city.
“They will come over and vote then return to South Africa. (State security minister and Beitbridge East MP Kembo) Mohadi is in trouble,” said Khupe.