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The case for the Zimbabwe diaspora vote

ICWT Newsletter | Issue 49
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By Trevor Ncube

The exodus of Zimbabweans into the diaspora due to political and economic turmoil over the past two decades has presented both opportunities and challenges to the affected citizens and the country as a whole. Zimbabwe has benefited from diaspora remittances but those forced to move are denied the right to vote.

The recent national census estimates that there are just under a million Zimbabweans in the diaspora. Assuming this figure is correct – which we doubt – we still think that denying a million citizens the right to vote cannot be justified.

A transparent exercise by our embassies to ascertain the exact number of Zimbabweans abroad would be a good starting point.

Nation building is heavy lifting work that has never been done in Zimbabwe since 1980. As we reflect on the “Zimbabwe we want” the right to vote for all citizens in the diaspora should be a priority. Being forced to leave one’s country of birth is a traumatic experience. The quality of life for many in the diaspora is far from ideal. Given a choice many would prefer to be home with all that this offers, including the support of the extended family. To deny them the right to vote rubs salt into the wound.

The case for the diaspora vote is made stronger by their huge contribution to Zimbabwe’s economic fortunes. In 2022 the Zimbabwean diaspora sent home a staggering US$1.66 billion, up from US$1.43 billion in 2021. These remittances account for 16% of the foreign currency coming into Zimbabwe, much more than foreign investment which brought in only US$185 million.
We have not seen a 2023 election manifesto that prioritises the right for the diaspora to vote. We hope that come the next election, mechanisms and logistics would have been rolled out for Zimbabwe’s entire diaspora to vote.
There is a precedent on the continent – the South African diaspora votes. We can learn and improve on what they have put in place. The Nigerian constitution allows for the diaspora vote but this has never been put into practice though Nigerians send approximately US$2O billion back home annually. Elsewhere, the US, UK and Turkey allow the diaspora vote with concomitant responsibilities.
The right to vote must be accompanied by the responsibility to pay taxes on all foreign income. We must also offer automatic dual citizenship to all those Zimbabweans and their offspring legitimately living outside the country with the year 2002 being an important marker . We must also use citizenship as a tool to recruit talent for our economic development.

Politicians must not fear the diaspora vote. Instead, they should go out of their way to openly court this important constituency by addressing their legitimate concerns. The Zimbabwe we want must fully embrace all its citizens, protect and provide for them where appropriate. This is the most durable way of engendering patriotism.

In Conversation with Bishop Never Muparutsa

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Bishop Never Muparutsa, President of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, has gone through trials and tests on love and forgiveness. Bishop Muparutsa first met his 96 year old father at the age of 54. He walks us through his transformational journey of finding God,finding peace and forgiving those who hurt him. We also ask him key questions on what Christianity really means. Watch his episode here..

Audience Responses

From the Bishop Never Muparutsa episode, our community had this to say:

@doreenchingwaru4526:
Powerful lessons shared by Bishop Muparutsa. Truly life-changing. Thank you!
@frenlinmkwananzi3887:
Thank you so much Bishop. You are indeed a General in our time. Thank you Trevor for bringing the Bishop what an amazing story indeed a lived gospel.
@faithgwitirwa358:
From God’s heart straight to mine….thank you Bishop
@trustkwaramba9250:
Thank you Daddy Bishop Muparutsa this is was profound, amazing life changing. I was absolutely blessed by this sermon. You were moving in wisdom

Coming Next: In Conversation with Prof Arthur G.O. Mutambara

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Don’t miss the next episode with Former Zimbabwe Deputy Prime Minister, Roboticist, Chartered Engineer & Academic Prof Arthur G.O. Mutambara In Conversation with Trevor.

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Podcasts

in conversation with trevorZimbabwean entrepreneur and newspaper publisher Trevor Ncube sits
down with various high-profile guests in a series of candid,
conversations that seeks to go beyond the headlines
and beyond the sensational.
  • Herbert Nkala; a retired corporate executive, entrepreneur and business leader.
  • Judith Todd; a Zimbabwean Author who has written books telling the story of Rhodesia and the injustices blacks experienced at the hands of white minority rule.
  • Douglas Mwonzora; President of the MDC-T.

Book of the Week

book cover

The Genius Of One: God’s Answer for Our Fractured World by Greg Holder

Order
yours on Amazon

Recommended Reading:

Speed of Unity: You’ll Know It When You Feel It

by Rob Ketterling


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