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The Level of Participation of  Visually Impaired Persons in the Electoral Process in Zambia: A Rights Based Approach

Mileji Pauline1, Magasu Oliver2*, Matafwali Beatrice3, and Muleya Gistered4
1, 2 Kwame Nkrumah University, Zambia
3, 4 University of Zambia, Zambia
*Corresponding Author
Received: 09 February 2023; Accepted: 14 February 2023; Published: 14 March 2023

Abstract: The study sought to identify the level of participation of the visually impaired persons in the electoral process in Zambia. A phenomenological research study design was used. Data was collected using interviews and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs). Purposive sampling procedure was used to sample thirty participants. The key findings were that the level of participation of the persons with visual impairment in the electoral process was very low. The low voter participation by the visually impaired was attributed to low information being disseminated to the disabled persons regards elections and lack of sensitization. The study recommends that adequate and appropriate civic education should be delivered to the visually impaired persons. In this regard, there is need to adopt a human rights model that takes cognizance of the equality principles and thus, will guarantee the participation of the visually impaired persons at all levels of the electoral process.

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Keywords: Participation, Human Rights, Electoral Process, Visually Impaired Persons

I. Introduction

The United Nations General Assembly passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in December 1948. It is declared to be a universal benchmark for success in fostering respect for human rights and freedoms across all peoples and all states. Although the UDHR was not meant to have any legal force justiciable at law, the concepts stated therein have become international customary law and are therefore enforceable. All states, not just those who are members of the United Nations, are subject to the declaration’s obligatory obligations as an authoritative list of human rights (Mulenga, 2008). Matafwali (2022) notes that the coming into force of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in 2006 is probably the most progressive achievement in the disability law landscape. The UNCRPD codifies the international agreement on the nature and extent of the rights of Persons with Disabilities by upholding the key values of autonomy, non-discrimination, equality, and accessibility. Among persons with disabilities are Visually Impaired persons. The term visual impairment implies that someone’s vision problem/s affect their ability to perform everyday activities, even with the aid of glasses. According to DeCarlo (2006), visual impairment is a condition of reduced visual performance that cannot be remedied by refractive corrections, surgery or other medical methods