Zimbabwe

Zim expats banned from voting

2004-11-11 10:22

Special Report

Mugabe shrugs off concerns over AU-West relations
Mugabe shrugs off concerns over AU-West relations

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has shrugged off concerns that his appointment as new African Union chairman will harm relations between the pan-African bloc and the West.

Harare - Zimbabweans living abroad will not be allowed to vote because ruling Zanu-PF justice minister Patrick Chinamasa says the constitution bars them.

Chinamasa made the comment in parliament on Wednesday in response to questions from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

While estimates vary, most believe that millions of Zimbabweans have fled political strife and economic hardship in the last four years.

Most have headed for South Africa, though about 40 000 are believed to be in the United Kingdom, with others now living in Australia and New Zealand.

Still, Chinamasa said the registration of voters living in foreign countries was impossible because of a ban on senior Zanu-PF members from travelling to western nations.

"There is a travel ban against the Zanu-PF leadership from the president down to the lowest Zanu-PF cadre to travel to the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand," claimed Chinamasa.

"How would Zanu-PF be able to canvass support from Zimbabweans in the Diaspora when its political leadership suffers from a travel ban in those countries?"

In reality, travel ban against Zanu-PF extends only to the party's most senior leadership. Nor is there a travel ban to South Africa where most of Zimbabwe's political and economic refugees live.

- SAPA

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