WASHINGTON DC —
A landmark ruling delivered Monday by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights in Banjul, the Gambia, says Zimbabwe should allow its citizens in the diaspora to vote in the forthcoming constitutional referendum and national elections expected in July.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights had filed an application with the commission on behalf of Zimbabwe Exiles Forum director Gabriel Shumba, Kumbirai Tasuwa Muchemwa, Gilbert Chamunorwa, Diana Zimbudzana and Solomon Sairos Chikowero complaining that Harare only allowed embassy staff and others working for international organizations to cast ballots during national elections.
It’s not clear whether Harare will implement the ruling.
Zanu-PF has in the past said it is tied by sanctions imposed on President Robert Mugabe and his close associates claiming that these measures stop its party leaders from accessing the diaspora community as would the two Movement for Democratic Change formations.
A team of Southern African Development Community electoral observers headed by Bernard Membe is already in the country to assess the situation on the ground. The team has been meeting with representatives of political parties.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights spokesman Kumbirai Mafunda said the ruling is great news for Zimbabweans in the diaspora.