PWDs should not be intimidated

By Fortunate Gunde


CHINHOYI – PERSONS with disabilities (PWDs) should not be intimidated when voting
because, according to the Constitution, it is their basic right.
Persons with disabilities also have equal rights just like any other person, hence they
should get Constitutional protection.
Chairperson of Hope in Motion, Pedzisai Mangayi, said like any other citizen PWDs
require access to and user-friendly services so that they will not feel intimidated.
“According to the Electoral Act, voting is a secret, hence even to persons with
disabilities such secrecy should be upheld, hence there is need for removal of assisted
voting as voting papers should be in Braille,“ said Mangayi.
Mangayi added that they should have the right to belong to any organisation or political
affiliation and hence should not be intimidated.
Susan Mabhande from Cherima said every man and woman who lives with a disability
has a right to vote whether he or she is assisted or not.
“There are some persons living with disabilities, who are beneficiaries to some
organisations or who are helped by certain people with things like food, clothes, their
children are sent to school or they are offered jobs, therefore, they are forced to vote for
those people’s parties or else they will cease benefiting.
“When these people are voting, they should not be assisted by any political activist, they
should be assisted by a person who works at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(ZEC), who is not an activist,” said Mabhande.

Richard Gado from Kuwadzana in Banket said persons with disabilities should be
accorded secrecy when voting.
“No one should know which party this person has voted for just like everyone else. But
at the end of the day if one finds out which party one has voted for, this really
intimidates them and they end up not voting yet their votes are also important.
“Persons with disabilities are also emotionally victimised by the people who they live
with. They are forced to vote for their parties and if they don’t they are told to pack their
bags and leave,“ he said.
Luke Chatiza from Rusununguko said persons with disabilities should not be affiliated to
any political parties and also the environment should be friendly to the people who live
with disabilities.

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