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PWDs decry lack of sign language interpreters during campaigns

Sign language interpreters are highly needed to help PWDs fully participate in the electoral process.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Persons with disabilities want presidential candidates to provide sign language interpreters during their campaigns. They argue that persons with hearing impairments find difficulties to participate in electoral processes, especially during campaigns and voting.

Although all the 11 presidential candidates use the services of the different language interpreters wherever they go, the sign language interpretation for the deaf and dumb is lacking, keeping them excluded from the campaign messages and manifestos.

Speaking at the enhancing transparency and accountability in the electoral process in Africa meeting hosted by Africa Freedom of Information Centre at Fairway hotel, Simon Eroku, who has a hearing impairment says that candidates need to provide forms of live assistance and intermediaries to ensure that people with disabilities are catered for.

The meeting with civil society and journalists is meant to enhance the capacity of journalists and researchers on access to information. He says that as of now, none of the candidates has readers and professional sign language interpreters or guides to help people with disability.

Abdulla Ngati, a visually impaired person from National Union of Disabled Persons Union (NUDIPU) says that even the infrastructure that the candidates chose is of great importance. He says although some issues require time and planning, candidates or the Electoral Commission can translate manifestos into brails for the people with disability.

He says persons with disability should be integrated into the structures of services in the country, including among other the commissioners of Electoral Commission.

According to statistics from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, there are 4.5 million people with disabilities in Uganda.

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