Court News

Prisoners to vote

REMANDEES and convicted prisoners who have appealed their cases will now be allowed to vote in elections following the Constitutional Court’s decision.

In this case, Prison Care and Counselling Association executive director Godfrey Malembeka petitioned the Electoral Commission of Zambia and the Attorney General in the Constitutional Court.
Mr Malembeka wanted the court to declare that section 7 (e) contravenes Article 45 (1) a, b, c and Article 46 of the Constitution and must be expunged from the State book.
He also wanted a declaration that all remandees and pre-trial remandees and convicts whose cases are on appeal and unable to secure bail be allowed to vote.
Dr Malembeka wanted the court to declare that all prisons in Zambia be polling centres.
In a judgment delivered in Lusaka on Monday by Constitutional Court judge Enoch Mulembe, it was ordered that persons in lawful custody and those whose freedom of movement is restricted under the law are allowed to vote in future elections.
Mr Justice Mulembe could, however, not order that prisons be polling centres to enable people in prison exercise their right to vote.
He said this is because the decision regarding the location of polling centres is a decision that the ECZ is best placed to make based on its mandate.
Mr Justice Mulembe said the ECZ must take necessary measures to ensure eligible people in lawful custody are enabled to register and vote.
And Mr Justice Mulembe said he could not grant the application to declare that Zambia is a progressive democracy because the country is already a democracy.

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