By A Correspondent| Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has asked the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to provide information on measures which the elections management body has implemented to ensure that people
with disabilities can comfortably have access to polling stations
designated for the 2023 general elections and guarantee the secrecy of their vote.
In a letter written on Thursday 17 August 2023 to ZEC, ZLHR lawyers
Tinomuda Shoko and Tinashe Chinopfukutwa stated that ZLHR had noted that ZEC had published a list of all provisional polling stations to be used in this year’s general elections to be held on Wednesday 23 August 2023.
However, Shoko and Chinopfukutwa said, the published list of polling stations does not advise the public if all of the said provisional polling stations have facilities which are accessible by people with disabilities in order to enable them to cast their vote.
The human rights lawyers stated that in terms of section 67(3) of the
Constitution, every Zimbabwe citizen who is aged 18 years and above has the right to vote in all elections and referendums and has the corollary right to vote in secret.
Furthermore, in terms of section 56(3) of the Constitution, every
person has the right not to be treated in an unfairly discriminatory
manner among other things on the basis of disability.
Shoko and Chinopfukutwa emphasised that ZEC has a constitutional obligation to ensure that all the polling stations to be used in the harmonised elections are accessible and are friendly to persons with disability.
The human rights lawyers asked ZEC to advise ZLHR of the measures and or special arrangements it has taken and implemented to ensure that
all polling stations to be used in this year’s general elections are
accessible to people with disabilities and to guarantee the secrecy of their vote.
They also asked ZEC to indicate when it will publish the final list of
polling stations and given that the general elections are imminent,
ZEC should respond to this request by 18 August 2023.