10 July 2018

Zimbabwe: Zim Court Hears Prisoners' Petition to Vote

Photo: The Herald
Zimbabwe prisoners (file photo).

High Court Judge Justice Clement Phiri will on Wednesday 11 July 2018 preside over the hearing and determination of an application filed by some prisoners seeking an order compelling Zimbabwean authorities to allow them to cast votes in this month's general election.

Justice Phiri will hear the application on Wednesday 11 July 2018 at 10am in Court K of the High Court.

The prisoners namely Tungamirai Madzokere and Last Maengahama, who are currently serving prison terms of 20 years each at the male and female sections at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison after they were convicted last year for murdering a policeman want the High Court to issue an order compelling Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Chairperson Justice Rita Makarau and ZEC as the elections management body to register them on the national voters roll and facilitate their voting on election day.

Yvonne Musarurwa, who was also a prisoner until he was released under an amnesty early this year, is the third applicant.

Their application has only been set down for hearing this month although they filed their petition in June 2017, more than a year ago.

In their application, Madzokere, Maengahama and Musarurwa argued that since the period that they have been in prison detention, ZEC had neither carried out any voter education, including voter registration nor enabled prisoners to cast their vote during the several by-elections which were held in the country to elect legislators.

The prisoners, who are represented by Jeremiah Bamu of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, argued that 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.

Musarurwa, Madzokere and Maengahama argued that it is common cause that Zimbabwe is due for general elections in 2018 and they are entitled to exercise their political rights regardless of their status as detainees.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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