Monday, 04 Mar 2013

Disabled people fear they will be denied their right to vote

By Florence Dzame, Internews in Kenya

Stanley Mutuma is worried that he may not get to vote for his chosen candidates for various seats during the March 4 General Election.

A legal researcher working with the Judiciary, Mutuma is a blind registered voter who will need assistance to cast his vote. His concern is shared by other people with disabilities who fear they will not get the necessary support at the polling station.

The Action Network for Disabled (ANDY) urged the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), at a media event on Friday, to look at communication barriers for the hearing and visually impaired. Other areas of concern for the group include security, lengthy procedures, poor accessibility of polling stations and long queues.

But IEBC insists they will ensure that every registered voter who turns up at the polling station to vote does so. "They will be assisted depending on the nature of physical disability", said IEBC Communications Officer Andrew Limo. "Disabled people will not have to queue and the blind will be assisted by persons of his/her choice", he says.

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