Malawi’s visually impaired people petitions electoral body on voting issues

Representatives of the Malawi Union of the Blind (MUB) in the northern border district of Karonga have petitioned the Malawi Electoral Commission on the need to respect their voting rights which they say have been violated in the previous elections.

In the petition, the blind people are requesting the electoral body to timely introduce tactile ballot guide and sensitize them on how to use the gadget  during the elections.

“When time to vote comes, we rely on someone to do the voting for us which is a challenge and violating  our rights to choose a person of our choice secretly,” reads the document.

It says that in real sense their secrecy is compromised as they sometimes do not have trust in the person who do the marking for them.

Malawi goes to the polls next year
Malawi goes to the polls next year

“It is possible that the guide who does the marking for us can cheat us and this is our major fear.”

The document is also requesting the electoral body to involve the visually people in civic and voter education if they want it to be effectively done and in goodness of every one.

“We want to participate in educating people with visual impairments because we know our problems better and we can best mobilize each other for active and meaningful participation in the forthcoming tripartite election,” said the letter.

District Civic Education Officer Christobel Shaba said their concerns will be presented to the Commission.

“Yes we know that we are not fully meeting the rights of these people in our preparation for the elections because we have just started and we are yet to discuss such issues with the above people,” said Shaba.

She added that as a district they are trying their best to involve them in some activities when educating people.

“Although we have problems to fully educate them in different ways that we use to reach people here, we still involve them in our trainings for them to get something of what tripartite election is all about,” said Shaba.

She said for example they recently we had a meeting with 20 blind representatives to hear their concerns so that they should understand every ting that is involved in the tripartite election.

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