High Court orders ZEC to facilitate voting for deployed teachers

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By Staff Reporter

THE High Court has ordered the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to facilitate voting by teachers and other civil servants set to be deployed as polling officers outside their designated polling stations during Monday’s elections.

This is after the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) had dragged the electoral body to court seeking an order compelling it to facilitate voting by some of the educators who stand to be disenfranchised by work deployment.

In his judgement, Justice Isaac Muzenda ruled that teachers were entitled to vote for as long as they were registered to cast their ballots.

In its application, ARTUZ had cited ZEC, the Public Service Commission and the Health Services Board as the first, second and third respondents respectively.

ARTUZ had argued that tens of thousands of its members would be denied their right to vote if ZEC did not facilitate the process.

The vocal teachers group insisted any attempts to deny teachers their right to vote would be in violation of their political rights as enshrined in the country’s constitution.

The national charter guarantees that every Zimbabwean citizen who was of or above 18 had a right to vote in all elections and referendums in the country.

Justice Muzenda said ZEC should provide the affected teachers with transport to their respective polling stations to enable them to cast their ballots.

“In order to facilitate the voting of applicant’s members and other civil servants seconded to the first respondent as Electoral/Polling Officers or in any capacity, the first respondent shall take such steps, which include but are 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 the 30th of July 2018 before returning to their respective deployed polling stations,” reads part of the judgement.

The High Court also ruled that all civil servants deployed to perform ZEC duties be given priority to vote so they could promptly return to where they were deployed.