Deaf people left out of elections

Monday, 21 June 2010 00:00 Written by  Joseph Mbulamwana

That is good news. However, as I write now, many registered deaf people are complaining that they do not know how the elections will be done.

For free and fair elections, where each registered voter exercises his or her constitutional right, deaf people need to be reached with civic education in Uganda Sign Language. Are any of those organisations accredited to carry out civic education in capacity to do that?

It should be noted that failing to understand the election process and what a disabled person should do could cost such people a lot. Each vote counts. A single vote can change the destiny of this country. Let all of us be reached with the information on the electoral process.

Let each presidential candidate have a sign language interpreter as part of his or her campaign team. The Electoral Commission should be responsible to provide these to each candidate, the way it provides security for them. At every rally, there are deaf people, who want to know what each candidate promises.

Deafness is an invisible disability unlike blindness or physical disability. Of the estimated 700,000 people with hearing impairment in Uganda, at least 300,000 are registered voters who need to exercise their rights.

Let the Electoral Commission or presidential candidates contact Uganda National Association of the Deaf (UNAD or Kyambogo University in case they need sign language interpreters).

Joseph Mbulamwana,
Kampala

Source: The Daily Monitor