Braille ballot paper coming soon

Monday September 3 2018

NEC

The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has introduced voting with braille ballot papers, which will be used by the blind. PHOTO | Cyril NDEGEYA 

By MOSES K. GAHIGI
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The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has introduced voting with braille ballot papers enable blind voters to participate in elections.

This is in addition to availing of sign language interpretors on the campaign trail.

“In the past, we realised that many of our people were not voting because of various challenges. For this reason, we have introduced braille ballot papers for the blind to be able to vote,” Charles Munyaneza, the NEC executive secretary told Rwanda Today.

He said the commission is also planning to put temporary polling stations for the physically disabled persons to be able to access polling stations.

“We have also tried to get some sign language interpretors, though it’s not easy to put them everywhere and not many people know sign language,” he said.

However, non-government organisations working with people with disability are calling for more measures to ensure that the electoral process is more inclusive.

“All these are people with different needs, some have been met others not, they want to participate at all stages of an election, in campaigns and voting but many are unable” said Louis Busingye, programmes co-ordinator at Human Rights First Rwanda.

Article 29 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability calls for participation in political and public life for persons with disability.

The right to participate in a political process is also a well-established principle of international human rights law, which was first set out in Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and further elaborated in Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights).

It guarantees all citizens the right and the opportunity, without unreasonable restrictions, to take part in the conduct of public affairs directly or through freely chosen representatives; to vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections; and to have equal access to public service.

Fifty-three MPs will be elected in the September 3 general elections, while 24 women representatives and two youth MPs will be elected on September 4. A representative of persons with disabilities is elected a day earlier on September 2.

Parties and independent candidates began submitting names of their candidates on July 12 until July 25.