Voting Prisoners improves Zambia’s Human Rights Record, brags Dr. Godfrey Malembeka
By Ashton Kelly Bunda and Derrick Sinjela
PRISONS Care and Counseling Association (PRISCCA) Executive Director Dr. Godfrey Malembeka says allowing prisoners to vote in Zambia as envisaged on Thursday 12th August 2021 will improve the nation’s standings on the global human rights environment.
Speaking as an ex-prisoner, at Lusaka’s Chimbokaila Prison now christened as Lusaka Central Correctional Facility (LCCF) by the Zambia Correctional Services(ZCS), headed by Commissioner General Dr Chisela Chileshe, Dr. Malembeka was hopeful that ample time and tolerance must be rendered to prisoners as the 2021 voters registration period commenced in Zambia on Sunday 9th November 2020 till Saturday 12th December 2020.
An elated Dr. Malembeka proudly emphasized that with Zambia’s human rights record that had in the last 56 years since attainment of self-rule on Saturday 24th October 1964 been commended by the United nations (UN).
As the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Kryticous Patrick Nshindano extended the Voter Registration Exercise on Thursday 17th to Sunday 20th December 2020, inmates countrywide not allowed to vote after being disfranchised for 56 years, had been issued with Voters Cards and National Registrations Cards (NRC’s) by the ECZ and Department of Registration respectively .
The inmate human rights advocate bragged that Zambia has now joined the other four countries in Africa that allow prisoners to vote namely Namibia ,Kenya ,South Africa and Lesotho and that would consolidate human record the record of mother Zambia going in the great future.
“You see allowing prisoners to vote and giving them enough time to register will help the rankings of the Zambian human rights considerate heart climb a notch high globally and the Zambian future will be proud of their fore fathers, ” the prisoners human rights activist said.
Dr. Malembeka the ex –convict, imprisoned on political grounds said the Public Order Act ((POA) must forthwith be frequently revisited and referred to as the campaign period begins across the nation, with specific guidance on how inmates will be coerced for votes by those vying for public office at presidential, parliamentary and local government level .
Dr. Malembeka says PRISCA put up a technical working group led Council of Churches in Zambia, Zambia Law Development Commission (ZDC), Zambia Correctional Service(ZCS), Zambia Human Rights Commission(ZHRC) and the Non-Governmental Gender Organisation Coordinating Council (NGOCC) that received submissions from the Law Association of Zambia, the judiciary and political parties following lengthy deliberations agreed and concluded that the debate as to whether they should allow prisoners to vote is over and Zambia must move on .
“The Public Order Act be frequently revisited and referred to so as to consolidate the documents that will stand the test time, as the campaign period approaches,”Dr. Malembeka stressed.
Dr. Malembeka told Rainbow Newspaper Zambia Limited in an interview in Lusaka that all prisons in modern day Zambia are well equipped with information facilities like radio and television sets where they learn and keep abreast with information on economic, political and social developmental issues trending in Zambia currently.