Government and other relevant stakeholders should ensure that prisoners are accorded an opportunity to vote just as happens elsewhere, Prisons Care and Counseling Association (PRISCCA) executive director Dr. Godfrey Malembeka has said.
Dr. Malembeka observed that there is need to review the law to allow prisoners to participate in national affairs.
He said inmates were being denied their right to choose leaders of their own choice.
“This is so unfair, we need to review the law. There are countries like Lesotho that allow prisoners to participate in the election and even in Kenya they participated in the referendum.” Dr. Malembela said.
He called on Government and other relevant authorities to consider formulating policies that would allow prisoners to take part in elections.
Dr Malembeka observed that giving prisoners an opportunity to cast their vote would be a step in the right direction as they would not feel left out in electing leaders.
“In most cases, the prisoners feel so left out and a good number of them are actually qualified to vote, so why shouldn’t they be allowed to vote,” he wondered.
Dr. Malembeka recalled that his organization had earlier submitted its legal and human right concerns of having the legal justice reform sector after determining that inmates should be accorded chance to vote.
He said there was nothing wrong with allowing prisoners to vote, adding that there were also Zambians who needed to exercise their right to choose leaders.
Mr. Malembeka called on the Legal and Justice Sector reforms to be swift in responding to submissions.
“We hope one day prisoners will be allowed to vote, Zambia need to move a step forward and allow prisoners to vote, they will be more responsible,” he said.