HomeLocal NewsNo to law that forces people to vote — MDCs

No to law that forces people to vote — MDCs

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The two MDC parties have said they cannot support a law that seeks to force people to vote, saying this will be an infringement on their democratic rights.

However, MDC-T said it will push for compulsory registration on the voters’ roll for every person over 18 years old.

In some countries every citizen of voting age is compelled to vote and failure to do so is penalised by a fine or community work.

Speaking at a public meeting organised by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) at the City Presbyterian church on Wednesday, Gifford Sibanda from the MDC Bulawayo information department said his party would not support a law that compelled people to vote.

“There is freedom of choice and the right to choose. Each and every individual has a right to choose to be part of the voting process and can exercise that right in whichever way that does not infringe on the right of others,” he said.

According to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, there are currently 32 countries in the world with compulsory voting laws but only 12 of these enforce the laws.

Some of the 12 countries that enforce compulsory voting include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Fiji, Singapore, and Uruguay. However, the conditions under which these laws are enforced differ from country to country.

MDC-T representative and MP for Nketa Seiso Moyo said his party did not support compelling people to vote but will support compulsory registration on the voters’ roll.

“As a country, we should work towards a situation where the registrar’s office will send a slip to anyone turning 18 to go and get an ID card and also include them in the voters’ roll,” he said.

On compulsory voting, Moyo said the MDC-T was a democratic party that wants to, “give people the right to make that choice on their own”.

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