NATIONAL Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) commissioner Obert Gutu has come under attack from Zimbabweans in the diaspora after suggesting that they will only be allowed a vote if sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe are removed.
“It’s not a bad idea for diaspora Zimbos to vote. It is actually in tandem with international best practices. Diaspora vote should be granted only after all sanctions have been removed in order to give all political parties unfettered access to campaign in the diaspora,” Gutu, who is a former Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs deputy minister posted on his Twitter account last week.
“Just imagine Zimbabwe without illegal sanctions! It would be a real paradise. Lift all forms and types of illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe and let this beautiful country flourish!”
However, his remarks drew fire from Zimbabweans in the diaspora, human rights and political activists.
The United Kingdom-based former Ntabazinduna chief and chairperson of MyRight2Vote Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni said the international standard of democracy allows diaspora vote.
“Gutu’s comments, by linking diaspora vote with targeted sanctions spoil the efforts to have diaspora voting. He is holding the Zimbabwe diaspora hostage to the sanctions issue. This year the UN human rights commission in Geneva rejected the link between sanctions and diaspora votes,” Ndiweni said.
Ndiweni questioned if Gutu suggested that the Zimbabwe diaspora brought targeted sanctions to Zimbabwe.
He said the removal of sanctions could be done if Zanu PF stopped violence such as what happened in Insiza and Matobo recently.
Zimbabwe Community in South Africa chairperson Ngqabutho Mabhena said Gutu was “lost.”
“Gutu is lost. There is no African country that has imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe, there is no Asian country that has imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe, there is no Eastern European country that has imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe so he is lost,” Mabhena said.
Human rights watchdog, Coalition for Citizens Advocates secretary-general Wilbert Ndiweni said Gutu was parroting a tired excuse often given by the ruling Zanu PF party.
“Again, there must be no condition for those in the diaspora to vote because it is their constitutional right to be allowed to vote. Gutu must separate the two, otherwise, he wants Zanu PF to ignore the reality on the ground,” Ndiweni said.