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African Tears Beyond Tears Innocent Victims Imire Can you hear the drums, by Cathy Buckle


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Can they really afford to throw away 3 or 4 million votes?
July 21, 2017, 9:03 am

 

At my local Parliamentary Constituency office a deep gully adorns the road outside and a  rusty, barely legible signboard mostly obscured by the branches of an overhanging tree, proclaims that this is the “Parliamentary Constituency Information Centre.” This is where you go to register births and deaths, get national Identity Documents and register to vote. It’s only a year until elections In Zimbabwe and the new Constitution guarantees my citizenship by birth and also allows me to have dual citizenship but officials in the office say they have not received instruction on this matter and direct me to Makombe building in Harare.

 

It’s a 180 kilometre round trip to Makombe Building, the Harare headquarters of the Ministry of Local Government.  Navigating the hundreds of people, rabbit warren of narrow corridors and dirty doorways I finally find the right place, the right office and the right queue. I get to the front and despite not being greeted or acknowledged, I launch into proving I am who I say I am.  As soon as the words ALIEN, New Constitution and Dual Citizenship are out of my mouth the woman stops looking at my documents and I can see the encounter is about to come to an end. “We have not been informed about the new constitution and dual citizenship” she says. This despite the fact that this is the country’s main Citizenship office and the new Constitution was adopted four years ago, in 2013. “The legislation has not been changed,” the official says.

 

So, Justice Rita Makaru, in response to your instruction that we “regularize” our Identity documents: We are trying but failing.

 

There are multiple thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of resident Zimbabweans like me who were disenfranchised after being declared ALIENS if their parents were born outside the country. There are an estimated three to four million Zimbabweans living in the Diapsora who are now ALIENS because they have taken on foreign passports to be able to live and work abroad. They too will be denied their right to vote in the 2018 election if citizenship status and dual citizenship laws are not changed and changed very soon.

 

So many people could be speaking out, demanding their birth right, demanding that the laws be changed in order to be aligned with Zimbabwe’s new Constitution. Little voices like mine are getting lost, going unheard, while the opposition giants fight for status, positions and power instead of fighting for the rights of the very people who would be voting for them. They will lose our votes because we will not be entitled to vote. Can they really afford to throw away 3 or 4 million votes? Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy 21st July 2017. Copyright © Cathy Buckle



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