Diaspora Advocates for Voting Rights, Economic Inclusion in Zimbabwe

Tawanda Dzvokora Demands Political Participation for Overseas Zimbabweans

by Adenike Adeodun

The Zimbabwean diaspora community feels ignored with regards to their voting rights despite their significant financial contributions to the country’s economy. Tawanda Dzvokora, who is the Chairperson of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) North America, has been vocal about the challenges faced by Zimbabweans living abroad and the critical need for their political involvement.

Dzvokora has been advocating for the rights of the Zimbabwean diaspora and has highlighted the persistent exclusion of overseas Zimbabweans from participating in national elections, which is a fundamental right enshrined in the Zimbabwean Constitution. Despite the substantial remittances that Zimbabweans in the diaspora send back home, which play a crucial role in the nation’s economy, the government continues to neglect them, citing financial constraints as the reason for their exclusion from voting. Dzvokora has refuted these claims, noting that offers of financial assistance from international organizations such as the United Nations have been ignored.

Dzvokora has criticized both the Zimbabwean government and opposition parties for only acknowledging the diaspora community during fundraising efforts, while ignoring their potential contributions to policy-making and national development. He emphasized the need for genuine consultation and inclusion, stating that diasporans are more than just financial contributors; they are key stakeholders in the nation’s future.

The exclusion from voting has broader implications beyond disenfranchisement. Dzvokora pointed out that this practice undermines the democratic process and hampers the potential for political reforms that could benefit the entire country. He expressed concerns over recent legislation, such as the Patriotic Bill, which penalizes Zimbabweans for political engagements abroad, describing these actions as detrimental to democratic freedoms and counterproductive to national unity.

In response to these challenges, Dzvokora detailed ongoing efforts to mobilize the diaspora community. He spoke of organizing protests in major cities like Washington DC and collaborating with diaspora groups worldwide to pressure the Zimbabwean government to recognize and respect their voting rights. His goal is to ensure that the diaspora’s voice is heard and that they can contribute meaningfully to Zimbabwe’s political landscape.

Looking ahead, Dzvokora is focused on advocating for comprehensive policy reforms that recognize the significant role of the diaspora. He mentioned the development of a diaspora policy, crafted with input from Zimbabwean experts abroad, which proposes economic, political, and social strategies to harness the diaspora’s potential fully. He stressed the importance of stable and inclusive political practices to attract investment and support sustainable development.

Finally, Dzvokora addressed the need to protect the rights and security of Zimbabweans living abroad, especially those in hostile environments. He discussed the establishment of support networks across various countries to assist with legal, social, and political challenges, including applications for political asylum and protection against discrimination and xenophobia.

Through his leadership in the CCC and various diaspora organizations, Tawanda Dzvokora remains committed to advocating for the rights and recognition of overseas Zimbabweans. He calls on both the government and opposition in Zimbabwe to start viewing the diaspora not as cash cows, but as essential partners in the nation’s development and democratic process. His message is clear: respect and inclusion are crucial for harnessing the full potential of the Zimbabwean diaspora.


Source: Newsday

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