Africa Oct 4, 2016
ZIMBABWE: People with disabilities have called on Government to establish a ministry that caters for their concerns, chairperson of the National Disability Board Mr Crispen Manyuke has said. He argued that other vulnerable groups such as women and youths were fairly represented in Government . Speaking at a consultative meeting where stakeholders discussed the realignment of the Disability Act to the Constitution, Mr Manyuke said the law enacted in 1992 was obsolete, therefore the need to revamp it.
“The Constitution talks about social and economic development efforts towards the issue of gender, youths and other key areas, but only provides that people with disabilities will be allocated a budget only if the funds are available.
“The State should allocate a budget specifically for the social and economic development of people with disabilities because they need to be part of economic and social development and they need to be equally capacitated to ensure that they start successful businesses just like other vulnerable groups,” said Mr Manyuke.
Mr Dick Deverenyika, who is blind and was part of the consultative meeting said, Government should establish a ministry for people with disabilities to ensure equal representation.
“As people with disabilities, we have no houses, jobs or other social prerequisites because we are not fully represented.
“The establishment of a ministry for people with disabilities would make it easier to identify some of the challenges we encounter and coming up with solutions would be relatively easier,” he said.
Disabled Women Support Organisation representative Mrs Rejoice Timire said the sexual rights of people with disabilities were overlooked because the country’s social system viewed them as incapable people who were not exposed to sexual problems.
“The Constitution only guarantees our rights as people with disabilities when the resources are available, while we constitute a considerable part of the community.
“There is need for people with disabilities to be represented in all departments, which include the education and health sectors among others,” said Mrs Timire.
The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare disability principal focal person Mr Jonathan Banda said the purpose of the consultative meetings was to gather input from grassroot levels.
“During the consultative meetings we have carried so far in some parts of the country, people with disabilities have called for the need to raise awareness about their rights, observance of their sexual reproductive health rights, access to facilities and economic and financial inclusion among other rights,” said Mr Banda.
Zimbabwe has signed many international treaties, which guarantee the rights of people with disabilities which are yet to be aligned to the Constitution.
The consultative meetings have been held in various provinces, which include Masvingo and Manicaland and will be wrapped up in Matebeleland in December this year.