Three million Zimbabwean citizens living in the diaspora will need to register for the 2018 elections in Zimbabwe and again return to the country on election day in order to vote with the already 6.6 million registered voters residing in the country. The new constitution, updated three years ago, guarantees all Zimbabweans the right to vote, but the electoral laws have not been aligned with this.
“People in the diaspora will be allowed to vote as long as they come back to Zimbabwe on voting day and can vote in their wards,” said head of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Rita Makarau.
No funds have been set aside for voters in the diaspora. The new biometric voters’ roll requires the capturing of registered voters’ faces and fingerprints to improve transparency and accurate reporting.
— BBC Africa (@BBCAfrica) November 16, 2016
Reports suggest that a number of Zimbabweans living in the diaspora are supporters of opposition parties such as the Movement for Democratic Change, which had demanded that citizens living abroad be able to vote outside the country.
The new biometric system is expected to be rolled out in May 2017.