CHINHOYI-The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has revealed that they are in the process of ensuring that there are braille ballot papers for the visually impaired for 2023 elections.
In previous elections the visually impaired would bring a person of their choice or get a ZEC official to assist them to cast their vote, but that is most likely to change in the 2023 harmonised elections, ZEC vice chairman, Emmanuel Magade told The Mirror.
Magade said this last week on Wednesday on the sidelines of the ZEC media workshop at Chinhoyi University of Technology Hotel which was meant to give an update on the resumption of some electoral activities such as voter registration, voter education and pre-delimitation exercises.
“Our desire and ambition is to make sure that everybody who is eligible to vote participates in the exercise freely and in an unimpeded way. Those citizens with special needs such as those who are disabled, we will try to accommodate them as much as possible.
“There is debate around the translation of ballot papers into braille and other literature which is election related into braille. Whether or not we will be able to do it in time for the 2023 elections is not the point, however, we are working towards the attainment of that objective.
“We hope it will be realised sooner rather than later, after all the Constitution has an overarching clause which says that no one should be discriminated in the provision of goods and services on account of race or physical condition and we will try to abide by that spirit,” said Magade.
He also added that to realise the changes they will include all this in the forthcoming budget for 2023 elections and promised that they intend to make the elections better than 2018 by ensuring that minority groups are catered for as much as possible.
A member of the Zimbabwe Association of the Visually Handicapped, Tawanda Mlambo said the development is very welcome because one’s vote should remain a secret.
“We welcome the new proposals if they are to be implemented as this has been proposed before but due to resource constraints they were not implemented. The secrecy of my vote is of paramount importance but this is not the case because of assisted voting, this is step in the right direction.
“We also urge the authorities to invest in voter education material to be produced in braille although this is a special paper which is expensive they can start somewhere,” said Mlambo.