THE Democratic Congress (DC) has unveiled a braille version of its election manifesto to cater for the visually-impaired, becoming the first political party in Lesotho’s history to issue such a document.
DC Secretary General Ralechate ‘Mokose, told the Sunday Express the special document, which was released on Friday, would ensure none of Lesotho’s citizens suffer any prejudice when they choose their representatives in parliament on 28 February 2015.
Lesotho is holding an early election following the collapse of the All Basotho Convention (ABC), Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and Basotho National Party (BNP) coalition government, which came to power in June 2012.
However, a power-struggle between ABC leader and Prime Minister, Thomas Thabane, and LCD leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Mothetjoa Metsing, resulted in the collapse of the alliance hence the snap election, which was brokered by the Southern African Development Community.
Mr ‘Mokose told the Sunday Express: “The right to full citizenship of persons with disabilities in general, and the blind or partially-sighted in particular, is one of the major concerns of the DC, so by producing our election manifesto in braille, we are implementing Pillar 11 of the policy document even before we are government.
“We would want to redress inequalities throughout the social strata and ensure accessibility, inclusion and universal design are pre-requisites which enable persons with disabilities to enjoy their rights.
“You see, we are already serious about national issues and of paramount importance is for us to deliver services to all communities; we mean business.”
He said discriminatory attitudes were not part of the DC since they result in the deprivation of full citizenship rights for certain communities.
“So a DC-led government will work towards achieving participatory democracy, freedom, open society, solidarity and cohesion of the entire Basotho nation,” he said.
Mr ‘Mokose added that should the DC be voted into power, it would review existing policies and enact legislation aimed at enabling persons with disabilities to meaningfully participate in Lesotho’s economic and social transformation.
On his part, Lesotho National League of Visually Impaired Persons President, ‘Mabataung Khetsi, hailed the DC for being sensitive to the plight of vulnerable members of society.
“We are grateful to the DC for this kind gesture, which is the first of its kind in Lesotho,” Ms Khetsi said.
“We hope if they become government, they can go further and ensure appropriate measures are taken to build facilities that make the lives of our members easier.
“We would want to read what the various parties are promising the electorate on our own, and the only way for this to be possible is having the manifestos in braille.”