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Court blocks prisoners from voting

by Staff reporter
28 Oct 2022 at 06:28hrs | Views
THE High Court has dismissed with costs an application by former prisoners seeking voting rights for inmates during elections.

Through their lawyer Tererai Mafukidze of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), Tungamirai Madzokere, Last Maengahama and Yvonne Musarurwa — who were acquitted by the Supreme Court on  a charge of killing a policeman — were seeking an order of the High Court directing Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Priscilla Chigumba and Zec to facilitate for inmates to vote.

In their application filed in 2017, they submitted that prisoners' right to vote as guaranteed by section 67(3)(a) of the Constitution was being violated.

The section states that every Zimbabwean above 18 years has a right to vote.

But High Court judge Justice Munamato Mutevedzi dismissed the application with costs.

"As a result, the concept of additional residency requirements is both lawful and constitutional. It further found that the Zimbabwean electoral system is constituency-based.

"As such, the residency requirements did not in any way violate S67(3) as they were meant to ensure that a voter was registered on the appropriate voters roll to facilitate the implementation of the constituency-based voting process," the judge ruled.

"I have already held that mootness may occur when a controversy which initially existed at the commencement of the lawsuit is no longer live due to a change in the law or a shift in the status of the parties. For the above reasons, I find that the application is moot. Equally, for the rationale spelt out, I refuse to exercise my discretion to determine the moot application on the merits."

The applicants argued that Zec never carried out voter education campaigns including voter registration during their detention or enabled prisoners to vote during general elections and by-elections.

Source - Newsday Zimbabwe