Tanzania: Blind People Will Cast Votes, Govt Insists

BLIND people will this time get their rights to vote in the Civic Elections this year and coming General Election next year, with the production of tactile ballot papers for them at all levels in advanced stage.

The assurance was made yesterday in the National Assembly by the Deputy Minister of State in the Prime Minister's office (Parliament Affairs, Labour, Employment and Disabled), Mr Anthony Mavunde, to the legislators, adding that the development was realized after the 2015 general elections, where it only catered for the Presidential Election only.

His statement came in the wake of claims from a legislator-CHADEMA, Susan Mgonukulima (Special-Seats), stating that blind people have been denied their rights to choose leaders of their choice, instead get assistance from other people, who may not respect their choice.

MsMgonukulima asked whether the government was ready to produce the tactile ballot papers for the latter.

MrMavunde explained that the Elections Act stipulates that if a voter has disability or cannot read and write should be assisted to vote by people, whom he/she trusts and that the helper should not be an election supervisor or an agent of any political party.

An election supervisor also has to give the tactile ballot paper to the blind person when he/she asks for it, the deputy minister added.

During the 2015 General Election, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) prepared the tactile ballot papers for the Presidential election only.

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