Disabled decry low participation in electoral processes

Staff Reporter


GWERU – People with disabilities have moaned low participation of their constituency in electoral
processes which has resulted in their low representation in all sectors of the economy.
Quadriplegic and Paraplegic Association of Zimbabwe Midlands coordinator Audrey Rusike said lack
of participation was even worse in rural areas.
Rusike urged the government to consider people with disabilities as observers and polling agents,
which would increase their participation in electoral processes.
“Participation of persons with disabilities is low especially in rural areas because of distances they
have to travel to vote.
“We have tried to engage with stakeholders so that they assist in this aspect as the roads might not
be user friendly such that those with wheelchairs or crutches will find it difficult to get through,”
Rusike said.
She said they had promoted participation of women in decision making in Silobela which had
resulted in a number of people with disabilities registering.
Rusike said most of their members suffer from lack of knowledge and information.
“When we first went there, some did not even know what the Constitution of Zimbabwe is, but after
teaching them, they began understanding.
“We also assisted those that did not have identification documents through the Civil Registry
department so that they get the documents which enables them to vote. Through that initiative
people got birth certificates and identity documents, after which they later registered,” she said.
Rusike said lack of participation was also being affected by stigma as people with disabilities are
called names.
“One lady in Silobela was decampaigned by a rival on the basis of her disability. Her rival was telling
people that voting for someone with a disability was counter-productive and she ended up
withdrawing her candidature,” she said.
Young Voices Disability Zimbabwe director Nyasha Mahwende said participation of young people
with disabilities has been a challenge.
“We have been encouraging them to register as well as vote. We are crying for more representation
in parliament and local authorities so that our voices are heard.
“We have also encouraged people with disabilities to participate in partisan politics because this is
where they are chosen to stand for office,” she said. Disabled decry low participation in electoral
Mahwende prayed for a violent free poll as violence could lead to disabilities.

Comments are closed.