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How The Current Electoral System Impacts People With Disability

By Mokhumi Valela

THE crucial 2018 harmonised elections are upon us as the nation of Zimbabwe. As different stakeholders prepare for this decisive process for our country, one wonders what its temperament will be.

Questions that come to the fore are whether this plebiscite will match the principles of our supreme law of being peaceful, free and fair; conducted by secret ballot; based on universal adult suffrage and equality of votes; and free from violence and other electoral malpractices.

Some eligible voters are wondering if the State will indeed take all appropriate measures, including legislative procedures, to warrant that effect is given to the principles of ensuring that all eligible citizens are registered as voters. Various sections of society are posing the crucial question of whether those administering this process will effectively facilitate voting by persons with disabilities or special needs.

For the purposes of this article I shall use the definition of the Disabled Persons Act [Chapter 17:01] that states that a “disabled person” means a person with a physical, mental or sensory disability, including a visual, hearing or speech functional disability, which gives rise to physical, cultural or social barriers inhibiting him from participating at an equal level with other members

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