Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) has bemoaned challenges people with disabilities experience during elections and has since called for electoral reforms to ensure disability issues are incorporated in the country’s electoral system.
MEC on Thursday had an interface meeting with Federation of Organizations with Disabilities (Fedoma) to seek views to be incorporated in the electoral reforms the institution will soon undertakes.
In an interview with Nyasa Times on the sidelines of the intermeeting, Commissioner Ambassador Reverend Emmanuel sChimkwita-Phiri said there was need for strategies and adoption of technologies that would help people with disabilities participate in electoral processes without challenges.
“This is the time to source views and reflect on discriminatory initiatives and other areas of electoral reform to ensure we increase the number of people with disabilities’ participation. There are several challenges we faced during the 2014 tripartite elections concerning people with disabilities such as infrastructure used during elections; most of buildings used don’t have access structures to aid people with disabilities participate in the electoral process smoothly,” said Chimkwita-Phiri.
Chimkwita-Phiri called for the incorporation of disability issues in the electoral laws to ensure that concerns people with disabilities have are dealt with legally.
Fedoma Executive Director, Action Amos described the participation of people with disabilities in the 2014 elections as average, arguing there were no deliberate initiatives set to influence them to compete in the elections.
“Mec had put up an initiative to increase women participation in elections but there was no such initiative designed for people with disabilities. The playing field was not equal. The electoral challenges experienced last year affected every one include people with disabilities Amos.
He then hailed Mec for embarking in electoral reforms in readiness for 2019 elections, saying courting his organization will help to raise and address concerns and the needs of people with disabilities in regards to electoral processes.