BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
PERSONS living with disabilities (PWDs) have called on the country’s electoral body, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to avail information on delimitation and other electoral processes in sign language and braille to ensure inclusivity.
Zec will be undertaking a delimitation exercise to create constituencies after the conclusion of a national census.
The last delimitation exercise was conducted in terms of the old Constitution ahead of the 2008 elections and was based on the Registrar-General’s voters’ roll.
During a virtual meeting between the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice and the Zimbabwe Elections Support Network last week, PWDs noted the need for special measures such as access to information in sign language and braille to ensure inclusiveness of persons with disabilities ahead of the delimitation exercise.
“They (PWDs) called for information on the delimitation process to be publicised in accessible formats which include sign language, braille and captions in order for the information to be accessible to everyone.
“A lack of information contributes significantly to the violation of persons with disabilities’ right to participate in electoral processes,” read the minutes.
Some of the recommendations of the meeting were that there must be use of inclusive media for PWDs and reasonable accessibility during the delimitation processes.
“There must be an accurate database linked to disability which will enable ease in identifying areas where a number of persons with disabilities reside.
“PWDs also called for information dissemination in easy to read material and in sign language or captions and braille so that the citizens fully understand the role they must play in the process. They also requested for boundaries not to allow for active discrimination against people with disabilities,” the minutes said.
Finance minister Mthuli Ncube allocated $2,3 billion to Zec in the 2021 budget, setting aside $1,744 billion to fund the delimitation exercise.
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