Decision to allow prisoners in Zambia to vote in 2021 general elections hailed

Person voting

The decision to allow prisoners in Zambia to vote in next year’s general elections will give the inmates an opportunity to exercise a right they have been denied for a long time, an organization that looks into the welfare of prisoners said on Saturday.

On Friday, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) announced that prisoners will for the first time be allowed to vote in next year’s elections.

Patrick Nshindano, Chief Electoral Officer, said the decision to allow prisoners to vote follows a court ruling that allowed the prisoners to exercise their right to vote.

Some stakeholders had taken the matter to court.

Godfrey Malembeka, executive director of the Prison Care and Counseling Association (PRISCCA), said the decision was good news to the prisoners who had been denied an opportunity to exercise one of the fundamental human rights.

“This is exciting and very good news for the inmates. You can’t ben talking about being a democratic country when some groups are marginalized,” he said in an interview.

He however said the electoral body needs to engage stakeholders in coming up with mechanisms, structures and modalities if the exercise was to be a success.

The electoral body should also visit other countries such as South Africa that have been allowing prisoners to vote to get best practices, he added. Enditem

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