Civic Education Ends Without Materials For Blind Voters
One of the highlights to the just ended civic and voter education campaign could be that organisations accredited to carry out civic voter education ended their campaign without demonstrating to potential visually-impaired how they would vote.
This was duo to brail votting materials, according to both the Electoral Commission (EC) and accredited organisations. But EC spokesperson, Fegus Lipenga, says all materials are now availably.
Lipenga said visually-impaired voters would be duly guided by electoral staff at the various polling centres, in addition to the knowledge they might have acquired during the little time that these materials were made available to accredited organisations.
Most organisations interviewed acknowledged that they were using the old system where those who are visually-impaired are escorted to to the ballot booth and those they trust help them vote. This system is based on trust, but chances of cheating are also high hence the new system where the visually-impaired voters will cast the ballot of their own.
A visit to Chikwawa, during Sustainable Rural Growth and Development Strategy voter education meeting revealed that the organisation did not have materials for the blind. Instead, they used the old system where a visually-impaired voter is escorted into the booth by someone they trust.
The organisation's Programmes Officer, Maynard Nyirenda, said it was because they had not yet received the right materials from EC.
Other organisations such as CILIC also faced similar problems.
However, The Malawi Union of the Blind has expresses happiness with the development that its members will vote alone this time around, thereby reducing cases of cheating.