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Need for disability inclusive and responsive electoral processes: ZESN

Abraham Mateta

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has noted with concern the dismissal of an application seeking to compel the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to print braille ballot papers for visually impaired voters by the High Court of Zimbabwe.

“The Constitution of Zimbabwe upholds the rights of persons with disabilities including in electoral processes.  Section 155 of the Constitution also compels the state to facilitate voting by persons with disability or special needs. Although ZEC has stated that special attention will be granted to person with disabilities (PWDs) on Election Day, the dismissal of a case in which Advocate Mateta was seeking an order to compel ZEC to ensure that visually impaired persons vote using braille ballots or a tactile ballot system is regrettable.

“ZESN believes that electoral processes must be inclusive to ensure that people with disabilities and other special needs groups can effectively and fully participate in electoral processes on an equal basis with others,” ZESN said in a statement.

The independent electoral body said it is imperative for ZEC to publicise mechanisms that are in place to ensure the secrecy of the vote for persons who require assistance in casting their vote on Election Day as stipulated in Section 59(5)(a) of the Electoral Act.

ZESN reiterated its commitment to promoting democratic elections in Zimbabwe.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende