The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) has written to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) seeking a meeting to address what they say is disenfranchisement of teachers during election period.
The electoral body recruits and train teachers and other members of the civil service for deployment as polling officers during elections.
In a letter gleaned by 263chat, ARTUZ secretary general Robson Chere said many teachers failed to cast their votes in previous elections after they were deployed in Constituencies they were not registered to vote.
“During general elections, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) deploys teachers to various constituencies around the country as polling officers. We have observed that in the previous general elections many teachers failed to cast their votes due to the fact that they were deployed to constituencies and polling stations in which they are not registered voters.
“It is against this background that we request for a meeting with the Commission to deliberate further on this issue and assist each other in mapping the best way forward. Cognizant of the fact that it is not feasible to change your polling station when the voters roll is already closed we propose that teachers should be notified of the constituencies and specific polling stations in which they are going to serve as polling officers before the voters roll is closed,” said Chere.
The Declaration of Rights in the Constitution guarantees that every Zimbabwean has a right to make political choice.
“Every Zimbabwean citizen has the right to free, fair and regular elections and make political choices freely, form, join and participate in the activities of a political party or organisation of their choice and campaign freely and peacefully for a political party or cause. Every Zimbabwean citizen above 18 years has the right to vote secretly in elections and referendums and stand for public office and, if elected, to hold such office.”