General News Sat, 2 Nov 2019
The Electoral Commission (EC) in the Upper West region has organised a day's sensitisation workshop for the Visually-impaired voters on the use of tactile jackets.The visually impaired are required to use the tactile jackets to vote for their preferred candidates in the December District Assembly and unit committee election without potential interference by aides.
The education was also on the referendum to amend Article 55 (3 ) of the 1992 Constitution in order to allow political parties participate directly in local governance, which is expected to be held same day of the District Assembly elections.
Mr Ali Adamu Osman, the Upper West Regional Director of the EC indicated that the commission was mandated by Article 45 (d) of the 1992 Constitution to comprehensively educate electorate on the electoral processes and its purposes.
He said voters were the most critical stakeholder in election, hence, the need to sensitise the visually impaired voters on how to use tactile jackets on the upcoming district level elections and the referendum.
He explained that the tactile jackets give way for the visually impaired to exercise their franchise secretly, which could also facilitate the voting process for visually impaired.
He charged the visually impaired voters not to disclose their preferred choice of candidate to be voted for to anybody on the time of voting.
"One of the important principles of elections is the secrecy of the ballot, so do not disclose whoever you want to vote for as you can independently cast your vote using the tactile jackets without aid", he said.
Mr Osman entreated the visually impaired persons who attended the training to educate members of their associations and groups to send the message across the region especially the remote areas.
Mr Robert Mumuni Tia, a visually impaired person and a retired teacher expressed concern about the harassment of the vulnerable by some polling officers during elections, which prevented most of them to participate in voting in the past.
He said getting the jackets at the polling stations was also one of their challenges.
"Sometimes, we would be trained like this but when it gets to the election, they would not give us the tactile jackets at the polling stations especially, the remote areas", he said.
He appealed to the EC to create a peaceful and smooth atmosphere for the vulnerable and ensure that the tactile jackets are available at every polling station.