HARARE – Health practitioners will today meet the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to discuss ways in which they can exercise their voting rights in the 2018 general election while on duty.
Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association president Edgar Munatsi said they wanted full and unrestricted participation in the vote.
“We understand that we are under essential services, the same category with the army and the police, and we want the privileges that they enjoy to be extended to health professionals,” Munatsi told the Daily News.
“The privilege of postal voting should also be extended to us. The other issue is the establishment of registration and voting facilities at provincial and central hospitals. Hospitals do not scale down services because there is an election, in fact we might be needed more
“Another issue we want to discuss is the issue of detained patients to be allowed to vote, and we will discuss logistics of how this can be enabled.”
Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZNA) and Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights and other health professional associations will also be part of the discussions.
ZNA secretary-general Enock Dongo said because health professionals’ services are required 24/7, there was need for provisions to exercise their voting rights.
“Most of the time you are not deployed to work in your ward and since this election will be ward- based, health workers will be away from their wards, what is going to happen? Is there any way to accommodate us that is feasible?” Dongo asked.
The health professionals argued that increasing access to polling stations will assist in “preventing interruption of service provision by health professionals in exercising their right to vote as guaranteed in Section 67 of the Constitution.”
“Further, the increased access to polling centres will encourage participation of the cadres in the process.”