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Letters: Sadc, please call for legislation on diaspora vote

Diaspora vote

THANK you to the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) for calling for unconditional lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe.

Please also call for the unconditional and immediate legislation of the diaspora vote.

The Zimbabwe Diaspora Vote Initiative appreciates the continued efforts by Sadc in lobbying for the unconditional lifting of all sanctions imposed on Zimbabwean individuals and institutions. The latest notable effort by Sadc is in the form of a statement issued on October 25, 2022 by His Excellency Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, President of the Republic of Congo, in his capacity as Sadc chairperson, reaffirming Sadc solidarity with the government and people of the Republic of Zimbabwe and calling for the unconditional and immediate lifting of the sanctions on the affected.

Sadc also notes in its statement that the sanctions imposes a blanket negative impression about Zimbabwe across the world, in particular the sensitive global financial markets. The Zimbabwe Diaspora Vote Initiative hopes that beyond the public statements, the Sadc leadership are engaging with the respective administrations that have imposed the sanctions in order to resolve the issue.

Dialogue is the solution, because Sadc will be able to discuss the issue with the imposers of sanctions and agree on a position. However, Sadc should note that the sanctions imposed on the Zimbabwean individuals and institutions have now been used as an excuse to deny Zimbabweans living in the diaspora their right to vote, even though these citizens have nothing to do with the imposition of the sanctions on those affected.

The diaspora vote is a right that should never have strings attached to it, and should be dealt with separately from sanctions. In 2021, Patrick Chinamasa of the ruling Zanu PF said diaspora vote would only take place after sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe had been removed as the polls would disadvantage Zanu PF who may not been able to campaign in the countries that have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe. Obert Gutu has taken the same line of thought, tweeting that “diaspora vote should be granted after all sanctions have been removed”.

Interestingly, Gutu in 2019 twitted: “Zimbabweans in the Diaspora contribute no less than US$3 billion annually in remittances. They play a crucial role in the sustenance of virtually every Zimbabwean family. Introduction of the diaspora vote is a salutary measure. In fact, it was long overdue”.

Sadc leaders should also note that while sanctions have been blamed by some Zimbabweans’ mass exodus, Zimbabweans started leaving the country to Australia, Botswana, South Africa, the United Kingdom, United States of America and other countries in the late 1990s following the country’s economic decline, long before the United States legislated, the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act 2001. The exodus intensified from 2000 following political violence and land invasions. - Zimbabwe DiasporaVote Initiative

Not too late to engage

THE time for dialogue is now, this patriotic comrade is wondering why it is taking so long  for Zimbabweans to talk to each other. I am reliably informed that the churches petitioned Parliament for a referendum on whether we should have elections in 2023 or a government of national unity (GNU) now. This revolutionary comrade is prophesying greed and selfishness in the minds of the few political players. Nobody wants to share political power and everybody wants to win the 2023 elections.

Zimbabweans should learn to find each other during peace times.

Collective engagement is key for economic prosperity.

The opposition and the ruling party Zanu PF should start asking the people is they are interested in divisive elections or inclusive dialogue. I am in support of the clergy on the issue of elections. Violence in Matobo  that left many activists injured and cars smashed is a good signal of a violent plebiscite in 2023.

It is very possible for President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Nelson Chamisa or to meet and discuss the future of Zimbabwe.

We are tired of pre-election violence and suspected election theft, hence the need for a GNU instead of contestation for political power. We saw gains during the Zanu PF and MDC inclusive government era. Dialogue is unavoidable in Zimbabwe. I am not seeing a clear and smart winner in the 2023 elections.

This good comrade from the second chimurenga is keen to see a genuinely united Zimbabwe where people of different opinions and from different political parties can wine and dine together for a better Zimbabwe. - Gugugu Magorira

Accidents during rain season a cause for concern

THE rain season is usually associated with higher accident rates.

No matter what part of the country you live in, it is almost certain that you will be required to drive your vehicle in the rain at some point.

Most motorists need to have an understanding that wet roads and reduced visibility affects driving.

The sudden increase in road accidents in the past few days since it started raining is alarming. I am gravely concerned for the safety of all who travel to and from work.

The roads are a death trap, and no one, from motorists to pedestrians, should feel unsafe.

With the uncertainty of economic conditions, the ownership of cars and use of public transport have surged, and road accidents are a frequent feature.

Several reasons behind the increasing number of road accidents can be noted.

Yet, the question still remains: Are authorities considering expanding the road network to accommodate both motorists and pedestrians as their numbers grow?

 Stationing traffic police along our roads cannot be considered a permanent fix if our intentions are to develop and protect all.

With traffic jams, people have adopted a culture of reckless driving and cautioning people does not eradicate the problems faced daily.

It is, indeed, the duty of each individual to hold in regard their safety, but the city council needs to ensure that speed barriers or any warnings, poor condition of the roads, and the road lights are dealt with.

If at all possible, steer clear of driving on wet roads because they don't mix well with speeding cars. Keep in mind that reducing your speed, maintain a safe gap and turning on your lights are two of the simplest and most effective ways of reducing the odds of an accident.

If immediate measures are not taken, roads will become the least safe mode of transportation.

 Mass awareness regarding traffic rules and regulations must be created.

Roads need to be widened and have proper lighting, and I sincerely hope people take extra caution when using these roads. - Anonymous


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