Gender Gender

‘Prisoners should be allowed to vote’

SITEMBILE SIWAWA, Lusaka
GOVERNMENT has observed that the current Constitution should be amended to allow prisoners to participate in general elections.
And the Ministry of Home Affairs has said there is need for stakeholders and Government to undertake feasibility studies on how countries like South Africa and Netherlands have managed to handle the aspect of prisoners’ voting.
The Zambian Constitution does not allow prisoners to participate in elections due to security concerns.
Home Affairs spokesperson Moses Suwali said that prisoners are also human beings who should be allowed to take part in elections as it is their fundamental right.
He said prisoners have been disenfranchised for a long time now and “I am urging non-governmental organisations and all stakeholders to begin to advocate for prisoners”.
Additionally, Mr Suwali said when the Constitution is amended; Government will start setting up polling stations in prisons to allow prisoners to vote.
“This is an important area that has been overlooked for a long time and is worth exploring”, he said.
Mr Suwali said the feasibility studies that need to be conducted should take into consideration if elections campaigns will also be allowed to take place in prisons.
“Are we also going to allow polling stations to be set up in prisons or will prisoners will be taken to existing polling stations to vote? These are critical issues we need to look at and study carefully from the countries that have managed this process,” he said.
There have been media reports by Prisons Care and Counselling Association (PRISCA) for Government to allow prisoners to start participating in elections.



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