Rwanda says Let the Blind Vote Too

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By Daniel Sabiiti

Rwandans living with vision impairments will next year take part in the presidential election for the first time in the history of Rwanda’s election agendas, despite loopholes in use of braille skills among the blind.

This comes after the National Electoral Commission (NEC) revealed plans of using Braille paper for voters with vision impairments during the 2017 Presidential elections slated for August 4, next year.

Formally, the voting process for person with vision disability required that they are assisted to cast their ballot paper with the help of someone with 18 years and above.

This new procedure is expected to take away doubts that have been raised by vision impairments, which have earlier on showed less trust for someone to cast a vote on their behalf.

Charles Munyaneza, the Executive Secretary of NEC today, told a local tabloid ‘Umuseke’ that the new method will be tried out for the first time as a way of giving the persons with vision impairments a chance to exercise their due right.

The National Union of the Blind (NUB) welcomed the move but numbers of persons with vision impairments who can use braille are not currently known.

Munyaneza however, said that this should not be a reason to halt the programme. “Those who can use braille will vote and the rest will be assisted as usual” he said.

The commission has so far embarked on educating other Rwandans on their rights to vote their leaders and the whole election preparation and voting exercise is expected to cost over Rwf5.5billion.

Rwanda is one of the countries that have taken steps to finance it elections. The funds are also expected to come from tax payer’s money.


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