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We’ll use braille for the blind on January 20 – ECZ

SITEMBILE SIWAWA, Lusaka
ELECTORAL Commission of Zambia (ECZ) public relations manager Chris Akufuna says the commission will use the braille template ballot paper for the visually impaired people in the forth-coming January 20 elections.
But Disability Rights Activist Wamundila Waliuya has described the braille template ballot paper as a ‘non-factor’ because ECZ has not provided any voter training to the visually impaired on how they can use it.
In an interview with Femail recently, Mr Akufuna said the braille template ballot paper will accord the visually impaired privacy to vote for the candidate of their choice.
He noted that in the past, the visually impaired had family members vote on their behalf and there is some dishonesty.
“We have noted in the past that family members who vote on behalf of the visually impaired ‘dribble’ them and that breeds mistrust,” Mr Akufuna added.
Meanwhile, Mr Waliuya has said since the Commission introduced the braille template ballot paper in 2011, it has never conducted voter training on how visually impaired people can use it.
He said the January 20 elections may receive apathy from the physically challenged because the electoral systems and processes are not user-friendly to them.
He has also noted with concern that voter education material is in forms not usable by the visually impaired people.
Zambia goes to the polls on January 20 next year following the demise of President Michael Sata, who died on October 28 in London.

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