PWDs bemoan electoral exclusion

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Jasper Mangwana

BY SILISIWE MABALEKA
PEOPLE living with disabilities (PWDs) have complained over lack of access to election materials and facilities which meet their needs from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec).

However, Zec spokesperson Jasper Mangwana said the electoral management body was facing financial challenges to meet all the needs of PWDs.

“Although the commission would like every citizen to partake in the country’s electoral activities, it is difficult to cater for all people with different types of disabilities owing to limited financial resources,” Mangwana told NewsDay
Weekender.

According to Mangwana, the commission tried to make its centres and materials accessible to every citizen including PWD’s during the just-ended mobile voter registration exercise.

“The commission has some voter education material in braille and ballot booths meant for those on wheelchairs and has also established some ramps at some polling centres to cater for people with disabilities,” Mangwana said.

“It is also exploring ways of improving the participation of people with disabilities in electoral activities by considering adopting some international solutions to those challenges.”

However, PWD’s were not convinced.

Ratidzo Muchairi- Mupona, who is a visually impaired vendor, said the “Your vote is your secret” statement was not applicable to them.

“In booths there is no braille information which makes it difficult for one to know whether the person giving the voting assistance is doing what we want. This always takes away the confidentiality that we should have when voting,” Muchairi-Mupona said.

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