Prisoners have no right to vote and people should not commit crimes if they want to vote during elections, a cabinet minister has said.
Responding to questions from journalists at a recent Cabinet press briefing, Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said people who are serving prison terms have lost certain rights. He said:
Coming to the question on prisoners’ privilege to vote, Honourable Chair, once you become prisoner certain rights no longer accrue to you.
And within our current laws our prisoners do not have the right to vote, so if you want the right to vote don’t commit a crime.
Meanwhile, Cabinet on Tuesday approved the principles of the Prisons and Correctional Services Bill that had been presented by Ziyambi.
Speaking at the same post-Cabinet media briefing, Ziyambi said the proposed changes will enable the government to establish open prisons for pregnant women and for infants. Said Ziyambi:
In the new Bill, we are creating several prisons or community centres that are more like open prisons and we are targeting to have certain categories for pregnant women and those with infants to go there.
So, we are coming up within the Bill several decongestion mechanisms that will cater for some of those categories that are vulnerable to ensure that they are a bit comfortable besides the fact that the budget we were given as ministry for justice, the bulk of that money is for prisons and correction services.
As Zimbabwe holds by-elections on Saturday, 26 March 2022, one thing for certain is that the thousands of people who are currently in prisons won’t vote.