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DRW Urges ECZ to Address Accessibility Barriers at Voter Registration Centers

Disability Rights Watch (DRW) has called on the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to immediately address accessibility challenges faced by persons with disabilities at voter registration centers. 

The organization commends ECZ for engaging persons with disabilities in preparations for the 2026 General Elections but emphasizes the need for urgent action.

According to Bruce Chooma, Programmes Coordinator at DRW, the call comes in response to the recent monitoring report by the Christian Churches Monitoring Group (CCMG), which highlighted disability accessibility challenges during the Continuous Registration of Voters (CRV) conducted by ECZ.

Chooma stressed the importance of inclusive voter registration as a matter of human rights. He urged the ECZ to make registration centers physically accessible and to provide training for staff and agents on effectively mobilizing and assisting persons with disabilities.

The organization expressed concern about the potential difficulties faced by persons with disabilities, particularly in rural areas, due to the onset of the rainy season.

DRW urged the creation of an enabling environment to ensure the meaningful participation of persons with disabilities in the electoral process.

Mr. Chooma reiterated CCMG’s call for the ECZ to record persons with disabilities by specific categories during the registration process. 

This data, including gender, age, and type of disability classification, would contribute to a disaggregated registration database, aiding in the planning and deployment of resources for disability inclusion in the electoral process.

He highlighted the significance of this data for effective planning and implementation of measures to promote disability inclusion, enabling civil society, including DRW, to raise awareness on civic participation among persons with disabilities.

The organization encouraged the ECZ, political parties, and all stakeholders to intensify awareness campaigns for the continuous voter registration exercise. Specific focus should be on encouraging youth, first-time voters, women, and persons with disabilities to actively participate in the electoral process.

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