SIX political activists were left with an egg to their face after the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) ruled that the government had not violated the rights of activists who accused it of denying them the right to vote in the Constitution of 2013 referendum.
Through Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), Gabriel Shumba, Kumbirai Tasuwa Muchemwa, Gilbert Chamunorwa, Diana Zimbudzana and Solomon Sairos Chikohwero, filed a complaint against the government with the ACHPR in December 2012.
They claimed they were denied the right to vote in the March 2013 constitutional referendum on the grounds that they could not travel to Zimbabwe to vote on election day.
The lawsuit was based on the claim that Zimbabwe’s laws which require a person to vote based on their residence were discriminatory and violated certain articles of the ACHPR.
In this case, the six activists wanted the Commission to declare that the government was in violation of Articles 2, 3, 9 and 13 (1) of the African Charter.
They called for the modification of the Constitution and the electoral law in order to guarantee the right of victims to vote from abroad.
But the commission found no basis for the complaint and ruled in favor of the government.
On the allegations of violation of Article 2 of the African Charter, which provides that each individual enjoys the rights and freedoms as contained in the Charter, the Commission found that the victims had not been subjected to a discriminatory treatment because the victims were not in a similar situation. post with resident citizens or officials.
With regard to article 3, which provides for the right to equality before the law, it was held that the victims had not suffered unequal treatment and had not been refused the protection which is granted to persons in as such.
Article 9 guarantees freedom of expression and with regard to the alleged violation.
To this end, the Commission considered that the restrictions on voting imposed by the government on the basis of residence constituted a legitimate restriction on the right to freedom of expression.
In the final analysis, the Commission concluded that the right to participate in government as set out in Article 13 (1) of the Charter did not extend to guaranteeing non-residents the right to vote from abroad. .