Persons living with disabilities and Zambia's electoral processes: a study of Lusaka district.

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Kalimaposo, Kalisto
Kalomba, Merreny
Kaumba, Chivunda
Mulubale, Sanny
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The study sought to explore issues persons living with disabilities in Zambia face in relation to the electoral processes in selected areas of Lusaka District. Specifically, the study aimed at identifying and understanding the consequences of electoral conflicts on electoral processes, accessibility of polling stations, electoral materials and adequacy of laws and policies that focus on participation of persons with disabilities in civic matters such as voting. The study was qualitative in nature and used a descriptive research design. Participants from various institutions, such as electoral commission of Zambia and NGOs working with people living with disabilities as well as in the area of elections, were purposively sampled and a total of 40 people took part in this study. Data was collected using semi-structured interviews. A thematic analytical approach was applied on the collected data. The study has demonstrated that in Zambia, like the rest of the world, persons with disabilities as citizens are faced with several challenges occurring at individual or micro level as well as those determined by the socio-economic environment or macro level in participating in the electoral process. However, the most prominent of them all is inaccessible infrastructure such as polling stations which includes other elements such as inadequate tactile materials for the visually impaired and other assistive devices, and long distances to polling stations. This study has also revealed that electoral conflicts, coupled with negative attitudes, is among the challenges that persons with disabilities face in their quest to participate in the electoral process. Further, the study demonstrates that although laws and policies that are aimed at promoting and mainstreaming disability issues in all sectors of development exist, they fall short of addressing many aspects and challenges faced by persons with disabilities. In view of these findings, the study concludes that there is need to provide voter education and information in accessible formats (for example, large print, electronic format for voters that use screen-reading technology, written material, and easy-to-understand language for persons with intellectual disabilities) and the provision of closed captions and sign language interpreters on televised voter information announcements.
Political participation--Zambia. , People with disabilities--Elections. , Persons with disabilities. , People with disabilities--Political activity.
Kalimaposo, K; Kalomba, M; Kaumba, C; Mulubale, S. (2023) "Persons living with disabilities and Zambia’s electoral processes: a study of Lusaka district" Iconic Research And Engineering Journals Volume 6 Issue 12, Page 914-922