Following the conclusion of the nomination of candidates for Special Interest Groups (SIGs) leadership positions which include PWDs, campaigns are yet to start.
However, with the ‘scientific campaigns’ arrangement, disability rights activists are arguing that the PWDs are being sidelined as per participation in the electoral activities is concerned since some of them can’t listen to radios while others are visually impaired, and as such, can’t watch TVs.
David Nangosi, head of the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU) said that the PWDs should have been consulted before announcing the scientific elections roadmap.
“Before passing the implementation of scientific elections, authorities needed to have taken into consideration the views and opinions of Persons with Disabilities in this country. Consulting PWDs matters a lot,” he stressed.
Nangosi argues that these people won’t be able to follow and keep up with the election process.
“We have persons with hearing impairments, the deaf and the deaf-blind. How are all these going to follow up in these processes of scientific elections?”
He said that the deaf persons are supposed to be approached by and informed of the candidates contesting for various positions, but the scientific elections undermined that principle.
The 2016 report by the National Council for Disability indicates that the limited participation of PWDs in the 2016 elections was due to limited information flow.
Nangosi also noted that the names of some PWDs are missing in the voters’ registers.
“Although they were given opportunity to go and verify, their details are missing even after the long processes,” he said.
Paul Bukenya, the Acting Spokesperson of the Electoral Commission said that the polls for village PWD committees shall be conducted on Thursday August 13 with 382577 registered to vote.
As the National Youth Council Act has a key role to play in the inclusion of youth with disabilities, Nangosi suggests that it should be amended to cause youth inclusion especially on the executive committee.
Some people, Nangosi noted, have been “discriminated against due to their health conditions to participate in the elections.”
“We have registered a case in Mbarara where a person with epilepsy was not considered. We also have instances where persons with psycho-social disabilities are not considered,” he added.
He emphasized that it is a political right for PWDs to participate in electing their leaders.
Article 29 of the Convention of the Rights of PWDs, which was gratified by the government in 2008 states that the government is supposed to guarantee the political rights of PWDs without discrimination.
“We are no longer in the traditional model of disability where you do everything for the PWDs. We are in the social and human rights model where their views and opinions are supposed to be catered for in any undertaking,” Nangosi warned.