Court Orders ZEC To Make Sure Staff Cast Their Votes

The High Court has ordered Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to ensure that all teachers and other civil servants seconded to the electoral body as electoral and polling officers, will be allowed to cast their votes on Monday, provided the said persons were registered voters.

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The ruling was made by Justice Isaac Muzenda yesterday following an urgent application by the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz).

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“The applicants, (Artuz) members and any other civil servants who have been duly seconded as electoral officers and/or in any capacity are entitled to vote on the July 30, 2018 if such persons are duly registered in terms of the law and satisfy the requisite conditions on the day of voting,” Justice Muzenda said.

“Notwithstanding the secondment or deployment of the persons mentioned in paragraph 1 to areas in which they are not ordinarily registered to vote, the first respondent (Zec) shall ensure that any such persons are able to vote on July 30, 2018 at their appropriate polling stations.”

Artuz had, through its lawyer Denford Halimani of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, expressed concern that its members’ fundamental rights were likely to be infringed on by the electoral body’s actions in deploying them to areas in which they were not registered to vote.

Justice Muzenda ordered Zec to give teachers and all other civil servants serving as electoral and polling officers or in any other capacity, a temporary break from conducting Zec’s duties to enable them to cast their votes at their registered polling stations.

“In order to facilitate the voting of applicant’s members and other civil servants seconded to the first respondent as electoral/ or polling officers or in any capacity, the first respondent shall take such measures and steps, which include but not limited to providing transport to and from the respective polling stations where each member is entitled to vote at, affording a temporary break from first respondent’s duties to enable applicant’s members or any other civil servants to vote on July 30, 2018 before returning to their respective deployed polling stations,” Justice Muzenda ordered.

Unlike in previous elections where a person registered in a constituency could be allowed to vote at any polling station within that constituency, this year’s voting is polling station-based as stipulated under section 22A(3) of the Electoral Act.

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