Persons with disability want more political positions

Written by  Nicolas Mbonela - MEC Stringer

Federation of Disability Organizations in Malawi (FEDOMA) and Visual Hearing Impairment Membership Association-VIHEMA have bemoaned exclusion of persons with disabilities in political parties at their conventions and manifestos ahead of the May 21, 2019 Tripartite Elections.

Amosi-Political parties not inclusive Amosi-Political parties not inclusive
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Interview with FEDOMA, Executive Director, Action Amosi said election organizers already do a good job of accommodating citizens with disabilities. However, there still are some discriminatory attitudes towards persons with disability when it comes to attainment of political positions.

 

Amosi said that there is a lack of understanding among election organizers in political parties preventing inclusion.

 

“We therefore call for the need for the persons with disability to participate in the electoral processes and give room for political parties to give persons with disability a chance. Key principles of democracy are non-discrimination, participation and accessibility,” Amosi said.

 

He said: “We ask political parties to accommodate people with disabilities. They ensure that they recruit more sign language interpreters for the hearing impaired. They have to have adequate information and give more support to contest during primaries.”

 

Amosi cited discrimination, stigmatisation, accessibility challenges and lack of information are some of the notable factors that the worsening participation of people with disabilities to participate in governance.

 

In a separate interview, Visual Hearing Impairment Membership Association-VIHEMA-Blind Malawi, Research and Advocacy Officer, Hawkins Munyenyembe said it high time political parties changed their mind set towards uplifting persons with disability and be recruited in political positions.

 

“They are equally capable given a chance. As for Malawi Electoral Commission, they should provide standards for political parties to encourage political parties to consider recruiting more persons with disabilities as candidates in the coming 2019 tripartite elections,” he said.

 

According to Munyenyembe so far over 21 parliamentary and 10 councilors aspirants have declared interest to contest in the coming tripartite elections.

 

“No major anomalies in voter registration as all eligible persons with disability are being assisted accordingly and urge the community to register and vote,” he said.

 

Malawi Electoral Commission-MEC has embarked on the second phase voter registration covering Nkhotakota, Ntchisi, Dowa and Mchinji.

 

FEDOMA is an umbrella of disability organizations in which VIHEMA is an affiliate.

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