By Fortune Dlamini
THE community in Robert Sinyoka, an area about 20km out of Bulawayo city centre has come up with a committee that will lobby for the voting rights of people in the area who do not have Zimbabwean citizenship.
Most of these people come from places such as Zambia and Mozambique, but they have been living in Zimbabwe for the past 20 or more years. Some of them are born in Zimbabwe, but are still denied citizenship, hence they cannot take part in any electoral process.
A team from Habakkuk Trust visited the area as part of its programmes, in a bid to engage the community to take maximum participation in the June 27 elections.
The Headmaster of Robert Sinyoka Primary School, Mr Giyani Moyo, who is also the Secretary for the Habakkuk Trust Robert Sinyoka Area Action Team (A-Team), said the issue was a cause for concern as these people were being denied their rights.
“There are quite a number of these people in our area, which constitutes of Robert Sinyoka, St Peters, Methodist and Pumula North who are not able to vote as they do not have citizenship. Most of these have been in Zimbabwe for all their lives, but they have been denied the right to register in the current elections,” he said.
“These people are part of us and they also have the right to take part in electoral processes,” added Mr Moyo.
However, of interest is that most of these people voted in the 1980 elections. The community is concerned that this is a Human Rights abuse.
“It may be too late for us to lobby for these people for them to vote in the current elections, but we should begin lobbying for them now for future purposes. We will make sure that we capture and compile the statistics of these people so that we know how many people we are dealing with,” he said.
He said they will come up with a committee that will be solely responsible for lobbying and consulting relevant authorities.
This decision comes after Local Level Advocacy Programmes that were carried out in the area by Habakkuk Trust. These programmes enlightened the communities of their basic rights and how they can fully participate in national issues. These programmes also saw one of the Action Team members contesting as a Member of Parliament in the Pumula North constituency.