Let us not complain tomorrow when we feel our wishes are not heard yet we would not have spoken up
By Farai Madzivanyika
The Government of Zimbabwe, through the Diaspora Desk that sits within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade – and has invited Zimbabweans living abroad to be part of the process of reviewing and contributing towards the development of a new diaspora policy as the current one has outlived the passage of time.
This invite is commendable as it would be folly for a diaspora policy to be crafted without the input from the actual diaspora that the policy will seek to represent.
It is in the same spirit of inclusion that we – as Zimbabweans living abroad in our various communities – come together to discuss and contribute towards the policy engagement.
I am part of a diaspora initiative called ZimThrive that was in the process of organising a diaspora homecoming for April 2020, before Covid happened and forced the cancellation of the event and many others.
Because we had been engaging with the Diaspora Desk from then – we have received a letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs inviting not just us – but all diaspora bodies and individuals to debate and submit their inputs either collectively or individually.
The Diaspora Policy consultative process is running already and is expected to end on 30 September 2021.
It is also expected that some roadshows and interfaces may be organised via the local Embassies in the different countries – communication of which will be made at the appropriate time.
The channels to submit comments and input into the process include the following two e-mail addresses: – firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
According to the concept note we received as sent to us by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – the topics to be covered by the policy will include diaspora engagement strategies, opportunities for diaspora involvement in national development through investment, trade, knowledge and skills transfer and philanthropic works.
Other areas to be covered include dual citizenship, the diaspora vote and safeguarding diaspora rights.
No doubt the diaspora vote is a topical issue, just as is the dual citizenship topic. It is interesting that the government itself has invited debate on these issues and it is incumbent upon ourselves to participate and make our opinions known.
Let us not complain tomorrow when we feel our wishes are not heard yet we would not have spoken up.
This is a golden opportunity for us as diaspora to engage and contribute towards the policies that affect us as Zimbabweans living abroad.
We have been invited to engage so let us take advantage of the open door. Let us not complain on social media without having tried. Let us give it a shot guys.
About the writer: Farai Madziwanyika is the CEO of Epique Consulting, a healthcare financial advisory firm. He is also the Coordinator and Liaison Officer for ZimThrive Trust, a diaspora engagement initiative.
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