HARARE – Zimbabweans based outside the country will not be able to vote in next year’s watershed elections, national elections management body — the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) — said yesterday bringing to an end the debate on whether those in the Diaspora would be allowed to be part of the crucial poll without casting their votes from here.
Addressing a high-level meeting with political parties and media houses, Zec chairperson Rita Makarau said the current law does not allow Zimbabweans not resident in the country to vote in the presidential, parliamentary and municipal polls slated for next year.
“Will we establish polling stations outside Zimbabwe? No, we will not. And the reason we will not is not because we do not want but because the law, as it currently stands, does not give us the power to do so.
“Will the Diasporans be able to register to vote? Yes, they can register to vote. They have to come back here, present themselves before voter registration officers, with their proof of identity and an address within Zimbabwe,” Makarau said.
“They can come and register to vote. Come voting day, because they would have been allocated a polling station, they will have to come and vote at that polling station.
“ . . . so if we are to fight that battle, please don’t bring it to Zec, take it back to the courts,” she added.
Makarau cited the recent ruling on the Diaspora vote by the Constitutional Court (Con-Court) which recently threw out an application by a United Kingdom-based Zimbabwean who sought to have Zec set up polling stations outside the country.
She said Zec is guided by the Con-Court ruling.
Opposition parties have argued the move was designed to deny the opposition millions of votes from mostly illegal immigrants eking out a living in South Africa and other foreign countries who are decidedly anti-President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF.
Makarau told the high level delegation that Zec already has the $7,59 million funding for the procurement of the BVR kits.
She confirmed that they had signed an agreement on June 14 with Laxton Group, which won the tender to provide the 3 000 BVR kits that will be used in the voter registration process.