Braille ballot papers: NADHZ

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission should consider introducing braille printed ballot papers to protect its members from victimisation, the National Association for the Disabled and Handicapped in Zimbabwe has said.

NADHZ National Secretary, Chamunorwa Dube, said their members were often persecuted after voting for a political party of their choice and they needed more protection.

“We don’t need anyone to assist us in the polling booth because our members are very capable.

I would like to encourage the new ZEC to take this issue seriously because our members have rights to vote for a leader of their choice without harassment or intimidation,” said Dube during a stakeholders meeting organised by Zimbabwe Election Support Network.

He said that when election staff or police officers accompanied his members into the election booth, it put them at risk of intimidation.

“In the event that they cannot read brail, the decision of who should assist them should be theirs,” he added.

ZESN spokesperson, Tinoziva Bere, said it was the right of the disabled to vote in a conducive environment that was free from intimidation. “It’s not the cost that matters but the rights of the individuals,” said Bere. Last year people living with disabilities scored a major victory when the Supreme Court ruled that the visually impaired be allowed to vote independently.

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