Anti-Voter Apathy Project (AVAP) Executive Director Richwell Mulwani has called on the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to set regulations and guidelines on how campaigns will be done in prisons following the decision by the Constitutional Court to allow prisoners rights to vote.
Mulwani told News Diggers in an interview that the decision by the ConCourt was a welcome one but that there was need to put up guidelines on the campaign system so as to avoid acrimony.
“This issue of prisoners voting should just be regulated by the regulation authority which is the Electoral Commission of Zambia because they are the ones that are supposed to provide the guidelines on how the campaigns has to be done in prisons because dont forget that those people are prisoners and if I want to go and campaign there, there must be some regulations of some kind so that there is no acrimony in the prisons. So we still feel that the law must be there, the electoral Act and the regulations and the Constitution should be able to facilitate the process where the prisoners are engaged well,” Mulwani said.
He urged political parties to accept the decision of the court because it would allow them to be voted into office by prisoners.
“That ruling to us as AVAP is a welcome ruling because it is going to enhance the prisoners to also cast their votes, to make a decision on the governance of the country. Its very very important that they are also given that chance. Actully it has been a long overdue situation because when you look at what is happening in Malawi, for example the prisoners are voting. What is happening in other countries like Kenya, Namibia, prisoners are voting. Why cant we also allow prisoners to also vote in Zambia because its their rights? We cannot deny them their rights just because they are incarcerated,” said Mulwani.
“We welcome the move and we are going to move in and provide the information that is required. And we want to call upon political parties to accept the decision of the Constitutional Court so that they can also be voted by prisoners because they are Zambians.”