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Persons With Disabilities Demand Electoral Space

People With Disability (PWDs) are calling for better representation and participation in the country’s political space citing that the status quo is not conducive enough.

Speaking at a virtual meeting yesterday, the Director of Albino Trust Zimbabwe, Bruce Nyoni said some of the PWDs are not able to go to the Election posts because of their disabilities hence it is necessary to introduce new provisions for the purposes of inclusiveness.

“We need one male, one female represented on quater basis in every constituency and these should be voted for by PWDs first since they are going to represent them,” said Nyoni.

“As we speak, the country does not have a coherent disability policy resulting in an uncoordinated approach by the government and business to disability issues,” he added.

The national political and economic architecture is structurally designed in an exclusive way for persons with disabilities.

“We have asked Zimbabwe Electoral Commission(ZEC) for numbers of PWDs who participated in elections from district level but they were unable to give us a number which means they are lacking somewhere,” weighed in Samantha Sibanda representing PWDs.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) was ratified in September 2013, but is still undomesticated up to now.

Another participant, Tsepang Nare also representing PWDs said they are prone to manipulation hence many fear to participate in the political arena.

“Electoral Law must make it a mandate to include PWDs in the political sphere so that we feel represented,” she said.

PWDs say the current legislation has gaping holes portraying disability mainly as a charity issue and not a rights issue.

It has been witnessed that most political parties do not seriously consider disability, only cosmetically mentioning it in their manifestos.

Beyond politics,  people living with disability have not been spared from segregation in other spheres including in business where they are often overlooked by employers.

 

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