Home#ElectionsZW#ElectionsZW: Disabled people should represent themselves so they can push for inclusion

#ElectionsZW: Disabled people should represent themselves so they can push for inclusion

#ElectionsZW: Disabled people should represent themselves so they can push for inclusion

By Shamiso Ndangana

Disability Activist Masimba Kuchera says people with disabilities should be given an opportunity to represent themselves in important bodies such as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) so that they can deal with issues of inclusion.

There is a general feeling that persons with disabilities are often not included in electoral processes because they are not involved in the planning stages.

He said inclusion can only come when there is self-representation by persons with disabilities.

Speaking during an interview Kuchera said “There is one thing called self-representation which is the key. People with disability should represent themselves in areas like ZEC and other areas for them to be able to push the issue of inclusion.

“First its self-representation, second is political will. Do we have sufficient political will by those in administrative positions to be able to push inclusion?

According to Kuchera, in as much as inclusion is required, it does not come cheap. He said it need budgetary support.

“But inclusion is not a cheap thing to do, it requires resources.  Do we have the budgetary support that would require for inclusion to start making sense? These key three pillars explain why inclusion hasn’t been fully sustained because you then look at the political will especially a few years ago, there was close to zero political will,” he said.

Kuchera believes persons with disabilities should be included in the program design. He said the voter registration exercise is not inclusive because disabled people did not participate in the design.

“I think the key is to say, are we being included in the design. The set answer to that in the protest of terms is No, although we can say that there are discussions and engagements to ensure that inclusion starts bearing fruits.

“So, for instance when you look at the voter registration, you will find that where there are going, there may not have sufficient material to make this successful. For instance, in the centres that l have visited, they probably don’t have station sign language people to be able to help those that require sign language help, just as an example.

“There is a serious need for inclusion to take place holistically not only in terms of component voter registration although it’s one of the big components. For processes to be inclusive we need to build it from the bottom up.

“So, in the design of those processes ZEC that undertakes, there is voter registration, voter education, and other processes that ZEC mandatory is supposed to take part in. ‘’All those things should have the component of inclusion from the start not perhaps as an afterthought or as a way of pacifying some people,” he said.

#ElectionsZW: Disabled people should represent themselves so they can push for inclusion

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