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PWDs demand deployment of sign language interpreters at polling stations

FILE PHOTO: Polling station

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Persons with Disabilities in Lira district have tasked the Electoral Commission to employ sign language interpreters during the electoral processes.

They argue that persons with hearing impairments find difficulties to participate in electoral processes especially during campaigns and voting.

Mathew Omara Okello, the chairperson PWDs who also doubles as the district councillor for PWDs, says that the deaf always endure communication challenges, especially during campaigns.

He says the government should employ sign language interpreters and provide voter materials in braille papers to enable them fully participate. Braille is a system that uses raised dots, to form a coded reading language for the visually impaired.

Brenda Aceng Milly, the PWDs representative in Lira district council says they do not have the capacity to identify all the 18 categories of PWDs listed by the Electoral Commission.

She added that sometimes the polling stations are located far away which makes it hard for them to access the voting venue.

Stuart Tamale, the Head of Special Interest Groups at the Electoral Commission says the commission has tried to plan for those challenges.

He explained that the commission has written to the National Council for Disability- NCD to provide them with details of persons with disability in the country.

The commission is seeking for details likes names of particular categories of PWDs per parish and also statistics of sign language interpreters in each district per sub-county and parish level.

Tamale, says that if the council provides details, it will facilitate the planning for PWDs elections.

In the recent past, the Electoral Commission conducted a verification of the National Voters’ Register and Identification of Persons with Disability- PWDs at the village level with an aim of compiling the village PWDs registers.

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