Here Is One Prominent Lawyer’s Take On ZEC’s Ban On Voters For Taking ‘Selfies’ Or Just Using Cellphones Inside Polling Stations

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Im sure you were trying to wrap around  Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (ZEC) ban on voters for taking selfies or just using your phone in the polling stations. Well, one lawyer, Alex Magaisa has written an article giving you insight on the whole basis of the ZEC’s ban.

According to Pindula, “Dr. Alex T. Magaisa is a lawyer in Zimbabwe, lecturer of law in the United Kingdom, Zimbabwean political strategist, and blogger. Magaisa is known for his political and social commentary work on issues affecting Zimbabwe and has been a columnist for newspapers, among them The Zimbabwe Standard, Daily News and Newzimbabwe and The Herald”. Here is what Mr. Magaisa had to say;

On the matter of cellphones during voting

People who have received messages from ZEC informing them that the use of cellphones inside the polling station is prohibited have been asking about the legality of this step.

I will address it both from legal and political angles.

Legally, as I have stated before, ZEC has wide powers under the Constitution, which it can use reasonably for purposes of fulfilling its functions. One of its critical functions is to run the election in a way that protects the severely of the vote and voter’s right to exercise free will.

I’m not sure why someone would want to use a cellphone inside a polling station but if it is to capture images of what they do, such images of the ballot paper, this could actually be counter-productive. It can easily be abused by bullies who would demand that voters provide pictorial evidence of how they would have voted.

This is a real danger. We already know that some voters, especially in rural areas are subjected to strategies designed to control how they vote.

The risk of that happening would be minimised if cellphones are not allowed to be used inside the polling station. It shuts a gap that can be abused by those who wish to control the choices that other people make.

Nevertheless, this prohibition only applies inside the polling station and does not extend outside, such as the grounds where the polling station is located. For example, a person should be able to use their cellphone while in the queue before they enter the actual polling station.

More importantly, the Electoral Law allows members of the public to capture and record the contents of the polling station return once it is posted on the outside of the polling station. If one wants to use their cellphone to record the results, it is perfectly legal to do so. The ban only applies INSIDE the polling station not OUTSIDE on the walls of the polling station.

Finally, ZEC must use its administrative discretion in a reasonable manner so that there is flexibility in the case of polling agents who have to be in regular communication with their candidates and other authorities.



One response

  1. chirisa

    lets follow the statute of the law ZEC is doing a great job kuti tivene a free and fair election lets not tarnish our electoral process

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