ZIMBABWEANS in the USA and Canada say they will this weekend demonstrate against President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the United Nations headquarters in New York over human rights abuses and denial of their right to vote.
Although Mnangagwa last week indicated that he will not be physically attending this year’s UN General Assembly meeting, the Zimbabweans based in the two countries say that will not deter them from staging “one of the biggest demonstrations ever by Zimbabweans there over government’s reluctance to allow those in the diaspora to vote”.
More than five (5) million Zimbabweans, mostly economic refugees, are reportedly living in the diaspora.
A statement released over the weekend by the Zimbabwe Diaspora Voices Communications department said: “Diasporans will descend in New York to stage the Diasporas biggest Demonstration against the Mnangagwa regime, on Saturday the 18th of September, 2021 at the United Nations General Assembly Session. The demonstration is against the Zimbabwe government’s abuse on Human Rights. Zimbabweans will also be demanding their constitutional right to vote for the leaders of their choice.”
“The fight for the Right to Vote must to be exercised in the Diaspora as a fundamental right. The Zimbabwean Diaspora will therefore be in New York on the 18th of September 2021 from 10 am eastern time to 4:00pm,” reads the statement.
In an interview with Newzimbabwe Sunday, MDC Alliance North America Chapter Deputy Organising Secretary David Siampondo said the absence of Mnangagwa will not change their plans.
“His (President Mnangagwa) absence is not much of our concern. However, if he was coming, it was going to be a bonus for us. The concerns of Zimbabwean diasporans involve everyone. Even our neighbouring countries will benefit from this demonstration because there is a lot of human rights abuses in the country and the region at large,” he said.
“We are having a challenge with Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and Africa Union (AU) because they are the culprits in trembling down the rights of citizens. If you look at what happened in Malawi election, which was a shame SADC and AU were the first to endorse that election result as free and fair. Thank God the country’s institutions were not comprised and the election was invalidated as new elections were ordered by the courts,” Siampondo said.
According to the Diaspora Voices, the Zimbabwean military government had “reneged on all promises to allow Zimbabweans in the diaspora to vote as enshrined in the constitution. The Constitution of Zimbabwe passed in 2013 by 93% of the Zimbabwean population gave citizens in the diaspora a mandate to choose leaders of their choice whilst in the countries they are residing”.
Recently, the opposition MDC Alliance urged government to allow the diaspora vote due to revelations by Finance minister Mthuli Ncube that remittances by Zimbabweans in the diaspora had continued to increase annually.