Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Persons with Disabilities in the greater Masaka region are calling out political parties and all persons seeking political offices to have an agenda for the special interest group as the country edges closer to the general election.
The PWDs say that the politicians have not engaged them even as they traverse villages in the search for votes implying that their agenda is falling short of the interests of persons with disabilities, among them the physically handicapped as well as those with hearing and visual impairments.
Nicholas Muwanguzi, 19, a person with hearing impairments from Mpawu village in Kasaali town council told URN that to many of the politicians, the vote from the PWD block does not count yet they are a sizeable number of the population who should be specially targeted. He adds that they cannot just vote for people whose plans are unknown to them.
Ivan Ndawula, a sign language interpreter in Kyotera district says that the PWDs have the capacity to support any candidate like it is in their electoral colleges at different levels, yet the politicians have on several occasions neglected their potential and missed the opportunity.
He added that the people with hearing impairments can only vote for those who reach out to them.
Eddy Kanamugire, the councillor for PWDs in Kibinge, Bukomansimbi district says that the radio, billboards and television messages can hardly reach those with hearing and visual impairments.
Esther Namulinda, another PWD in Masaka says that apart from financial challenges reportedly faced by politicians, the media has not given priority to the cause and plight of PWDs.
Richard Musisi, the executive director of Masaka Association for Disabled Persons Living with HIV&AIDS (MADIPHA) says that while they remain marginalized by different communities, the PWDs hold a powerful vote that needs to be tapped by candidates at all levels.
Musisi adds that on polling day, the PWDs need helpers to accompany them to the polling stations to vote for their favourite candidate which is expensive for the majority.
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