Bulawayo-based journalists Mandla Tshuma and Lulu Brenda Harris who petitioned Parliament in 2022 to amend section 73 of the Electoral Act which allow postal voting to include journalists among persons who qualify.
The duo’s petition comes as Zimbabwe is gearing up for 2023 harmonised election.
The duo have been summoned to give oral evidence on their petition on the 2nd of February 2023.
In a letter dated 19 January 2023, acting clerk of Parliament, Helen Dingane invited the two journalists to appear before the parliamentary portfolio committee of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affair
In their petition, Tshuma and Harris argued that journalists play a pivotal role in society as was seen at the height of the Covid-19 lockdown, when the Government on April 19, 2020, accorded the media sector an essential/critical service status through Statutory Instrument 93 of 2020.
“Sadly, however, the country’s laws only allow postal voting for members of the security services and other government employees (including their spouses) while turning a blind eye to media practitioners who during polls are deployed to cover elections outside their constituencies,” said Tshuma and Harris .
Tshuma and Harris said the prejudiced nature of laws has resulted in journalists failing in exercising their right to vote in the past elections.
“We pray that this should not be allowed to continue under the new dispensation,” they said.