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Prisoners press ahead with demand to vote

Prisoners press ahead with demand to vote

by MARCUS MUSHONGA
HARARE, (CAJ News) THE application by some Zimbabwean activists for prisoners to vote in elections will be back in courts later this month despite the trio’s release from prison.

This application has been before the courts since June 2017 but suffered setbacks including the death of the judge presiding over it.

Judge Justice Clement Phiri passed on in January 2021 after reserving judgment in 2018 on the application by Tungamirai Madzokere, Last Maengahama and Yvonne Musarurwa.

They have since been released from Chikurubi Female Prison and Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison where they had been kept for the murder of a police officer, a charge they say was politically motivated.

The trio was demanding a vote in the 2018 general election won by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).

High Court Judge Justice Munamato Mutevedzi will on January 25 preside over the hearing and determination of the application.

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumb, a and ZEC are the respondents.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), representing the activists, argue that since the period that they had been in prison detention, ZEC had neither carried out any voter education, including voter registration nor enabled prisoners to vote during the several general and by-elections.

Lawyers argued they were asserting their constitutional rights particularly the right to vote in elections and referendums as enshrined in Section 67 (3) (a) of the Constitution.

Mnangagwa’s government has previously scoffed at the court application as Zimbabwe has no provision for prisoners’ voting.

– CAJ News

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