Zimbabwe prisoners file landmark application to compel elections body to vote in national elections
By Wallace Mawire
HARARE,ZIMBABWE-The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has today reported that Zimbabwean authorities will be under the spotlight Tuesday 25 January 2022 when High Court Judge Justice Munamato Mutevedzi will preside over the hearing and determination of an application filed by some prisoners seeking an order compelling the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and government to allow them to vote during elections.
In the application which was filed in June 2017, but is being heard now after the presiding Judge Justice Clement Phiri passed on in January 2021 after reserving judgment in July 2018, the prisoners want the High Court to issue an order compelling Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Hon. Ziyambi Ziyambi, ZEC Chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba and ZEC as the elections management body, to register them on the national voters roll and facilitate their voting on election day. Zimbabwe is to conduct its harmonised elections in 2023.
According to the ZLHR, the prisoners, Yvonne Musarurwa, Tungamirai Madzokere and Last Maengahama, who have since been released from Chikurubi Female Prison and Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison and are represented by Advocate Tererai Mafukidze, instructed by Jeremiah Bamu of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, argued that since the period that they had been in prison detention from 2011, ZEC had neither carried out any voter education, including voter registration nor enabled prisoners to vote during the several general and by-elections which were held in Zimbabwe.
Musarurwa, Madzokere and Maengahama 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. They argued that they are entitled to exercise their political rights regardless of their status as prisoners.