Spare a thought for the handicapped

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The switching off of Capota Schools and Workshops for the Blind by Zesa shows certain attitudes inherent in our society towards people with disabilities.

This case is one of the numerous ones portraying the callousness of society against people who are handicapped.

Capota Schools for the Blind and Workshops is a Reformed Church in Zimbabwe-run organisation which was established in 1939.

Among its main objectives is to educate and rehabilitate visually handicapped people. One could say the Capota Schools and Workshops for the Blind directly help the government in reducing the number of blind beggars on our streets (which, mind you, is a direct social responsibility of the government of Zimbabwe).

Naturally like any other voluntary organisation, the Capota Schools and Workshops for the Blind depend on donors. Of late, which no one needs to be apprised of, donor funding has been scarce and the government has not been friendly to these donors.

I am sure the above brief insight might get one to understand why Capota Schools and Workshops for the Blind became indebted to the tune of $48 000.

Recently there were reports awash in the media that senior government officials owed Zesa amounts as high as +$100 000 individually.

Please take note that nowhere was it mentioned that these senior government officials had been dealt with. All that was being flighted were threats that they would be dealt with.

Ironically Zesa claims to be “a very humane organisation and very sympathetic to vulnerable members of our society, but at the moment we are importing 40% of our power and these imports need to be paid for”.

If sympathy is indeed a value which Zesa upholds then how do we interpret a situation which is pitting a senior government official owing Zesa $100 000 against a voluntary organisation which takes care of disadvantaged members of society owing
$48 000?

Zesa is quick to withdraw its services from the latter while “contemplating” dealing with the former. Please take note that the latter does not generate income, but survives on handouts.

Organisations like ours which stand for the rights of the disabled always clamour for equal treatment of those members of society who are vulnerable, but more often than not society listens to their concerns with one ear whilst the other ear is an outlet for all these important sentiments.

This documented action by Zesa is but one of the many abuses which the disabled are being subjected to in society.

Minister Stan Mudenge was in the electronic media condemning what Zesa had done at the Capota Schools for the Blind in his capacity as the Member of the Parliament in that constituency. It’s brave of him. But is that all that the government, the corporate world and society can do?

Zesa must stop targeting the weak and set an example by withdrawing their services from those selfish but financially able chefs who simply decide not to pay for services rendered to them.

Peter Masendeke is president of Campaign Against Abuse and Neglect of the Disabled (CAAND)