The ruling ZANU PF has described the Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda‘s recent remarks on the diaspora vote as “unbecoming.”
Speaking at an all-stakeholder workshop organised by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) held in Kariba last weekend, Mudenda called for the amendment of the national constitution to allow diaspora vote. Mudenda said:
Amendments to the Electoral Act should clearly specify the procedures and mechanisms for registration and voting for citizens in the diaspora… There is need to amend the Constitution to encapsulate the diaspora vote.
Mudenda also called for the appointment of a second vice-president much to the annoyance of his party.
ZANU PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa Wednesday said the Speaker was offside. He told reporters at a press conference:
It’s okay for Parliament, as the electorate of the sovereign people of Zimbabwe to express their certain views.
We also belong to a party and we have the majority. It’s unbecoming when some of our members express views in Parliament about certain issues. We have a caucus at the party. Why would somebody from the ruling party want to go and express things about the diaspora or express things about when the President should be electing a vice-president?
We should discuss them here. To go out and start talking out of turn is not the ZANU PF way. There is no problem in having variant views, but let’s discuss them if you are a party member. As the spokesperson of the party, I appeal for discipline from our party members.
The Electoral Act only guarantees government employees such as diplomats the right to vote from outside the country through postal votes.
2018 elections observer missions called on the government to facilitate postal voting for every Zimbabwean as guaranteed under section 67 of the Constitution, which guarantees every citizen above the age of 18 the right to vote.
But ZANU PF has opposed the diaspora vote, with analysts saying the ruling party is scared that millions of Zimbabweans in the diaspora will vote for the opposition.