Khalfan H. Khalfan, executive director of the Organization of People with Disabilities, talks about his and others' efforts in Zanzibar to enfranchise disabled people. He addresses the challenges involved in ensuring disabled people can exercise their right to vote and explains the particular difficulties disabled people face in accessing polling stations, casting their votes in private, and avoiding election violence. He also speaks briefly about his role as an election observer in Zanzibar’s first multiparty election in 1995 and some of the irregularities he noted during that election.
At the time of this interview, Khalfan H. Khalfan was executive director of the Organization of People with Disabilities, an advocacy group that he founded in 1985 in his native Zanzibar. He became involved in disabled-rights activism after traveling to Singapore to attend a meeting for the disabled in 1981, the International Year of Disabled People. Khalfan also founded the Eastern African Federation of the Disabled. He was a member of the World Council of Disabled People International for more than 20 years, an elected vice chair for development and underrepresented groups of Disabled People International from 2002 to 2007, and chairperson of the Pan African Federation of the Disabled for 12 years. Prior to his activism on behalf of rights for the disabled, he worked as a secondary-school teacher for almost 20 years. He died in March 2009.