Christian Disability network (CDN), an umbrella body for Non- governmental Organisations (NGOs) advocating for rights of people with disabilities in Chikwawa, has complained of being sidelined in the electoral process ahead of next year’s tripartite elections.
Coordinator for the network, Beaton Masamba, said in an interview that people with various forms of disabilities in the district are not being involved in the electoral activities such as the voter registration exercise.
Masamba pointed out that during voter registration exercise in the district, people with disability were finding it difficult to get to places where the sensitisation meetings were taking place which were mainly along the roads and in markets instead of reaching to them also in the remote areas.
“Most of our members have difficulties in walking and could not walk to places where these meetings were taking place. Those who cannot hear could not get the massages and even those who cannot read,” said Masamba.
On her part, Elizabeth Khumbanyiwa who is the Assistant Rehabilitation Officer for MACOHA in Chikwawa, called on electoral stakeholders in the district to identity representatives from people with disabilities to work with in order to reach out to more people.
However, Simone Munde who is the programs Manager for the Federation for Disability Organisation in Malawi (FEDOMA) which is the mother body of all disability organisations in the country said that the Malawi Electoral Commission’s (MEC) decision to introduce tactile ballots in next year’s elections is commendable and will encourage more people with disabilities to vote.
He added that MEC has put voter messages on braille to allow people with visual impairments to access them.