Court reserves judgment in prisoners’ quest to vote

HIGH Court judge Justice Munamato Mutevedzi yesterday reserved judgment in an application seeking voting rights for prisoners during elections, saying all parties involved in the matter would be notified when the judgment is ready.

The applicants in the matter, Yvonne Musarurwa, Tungamirai Madzokere and Last Maengahama were prisoners when they filed the application, but have since been released.

Through their lawyer Tererai Mafukidze of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), the ex-prisoners were demanding that the High Court must issue an order compelling Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba and Zec to register prisoners on the voters’ roll and facilitate their voting in the country’s elections.

The applicants argued that for the period they were in detention, Zec never carried out any voter education campaigns, including voter registration or enabled prisoners to vote during general elections and by-elections.

The prisoners assert that they have the right to vote in elections and referendums as enshrined in section 67(3)(a) of the Constitution regardless of their status.

Section 67(3)(a) stipulates political rights and states that: “Every Zimbabwean citizen who is of, or over 18 years of age, has the right to vote in all elections and referendums to which this Constitution or any other law applies, and to do so in secret.”Newsday.

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