National Initiative for Civic Education(NICE) Public Trust has embarked on an awareness campaign aimed at sensitizing prisoners about voter registration.
The Trust held functions at Zomba Maximum Prison and Mikuyu Prison on Thursday and Friday, respectively.
The functions were spiced by traditional dances and drama performances by the inmates.
Speaking at Zomba Maximum Prison NICE Trust’s assistant civic education officer for Zomba, Chifundo Sangaya said inmates have the right to take part in the elections hence the need to involve them in all activities concerning the elections.
Public Relations Officer for the Department of Prisons, Mike Chimwemwe Shaba concurred with Sangaya on the rights of inmates to vote.
“Inmates are bonafide citizens just like anyone regardless of the fact that they at some point went against the laws of the state. They equally deserve information to make informed decisions. As citizens they need to appreciate the importance of playing a role in the electoral process which accords them their right to choose a legitimate leader of their choice,” said Shaba.
Shaba further explained that the event has encouraged some inmates who did not understand the importance of taking an active role in the electoral process.
He said inmates’ movements are restricted therefore reaching out to them with this type of information will give them the precious opportunity to take part in the governance of the country.
Meanwhile, 447 inmates have registered in Mulanje Prison representing 100 percent turnout. The Station Officer for the prison, Joseph Kumimba attributed the turn out to the communication approach which was used to encourage the inmates to register.
Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to take part in the government of his or her country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. This participation is achieved through voting, among others.
Malawi is one of the countries which allow prisoners to vote. During 2014 tripartite elections, over 9000 inmates voted.