GLEN View South MP Pius Madzinga is embroiled in a fight for the control of a rehabilitation centre located in his constituency.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Isheanesu Multi-Purpose Centre for Disabled Children falls under the Zimbabwe Parents of Handicapped Children Association (ZPHCA) and is a fully registered non-profit organisation offering care and rehabilitation to children with disabilities.
Officials at the centre accused the Zanu PF MP of siding with suspended members who in turn were allegedly trying to exert political pressure to wrest the rehabilitation centre from them.
“The centre has been running for decades. It was officially opened in 1998 by First Lady Grace Mugabe and people with disabilities have been coming here for rehabilitation free of charge,”
ZPHCA Harare chairperson Calista Manheya said.
“The centre has been developing and we got assistance to construct new buildings here. The problem started when some of the members said they didn’t want construction to proceed and they tried to wrest the project from the community.”
She added: “They want to charge money and groceries to the disabled children yet there is absolutely no reason for that. Because of a litany of their misdeeds, we suspended them. This is why they are seeking political muscle from Zanu PF. That is the problem we are having here.”
Angry parents on Tuesday accused the rival group of trying to close the centre.
However, Madzinga denied any wrongdoing, saying he was fighting for the rights of the disabled children who were suspended along with their parents.
“They are giving you wrong information. They suspended disabled children along with their parents and as an MP I should not be seen taking sides. The issue is that they suspended these children and we should correct that,” Madzinga told NewsDay.
“If a disabled child is suspended, can I say that is right? Anyone can give birth to a disabled child and do you think that will make me happy? I represent everyone and I don’t take sides.”
Angry parents accused the splinter group of trying to jeopardise rehabilitation of programmes. They said politicians should not meddle in the day-to-day running of such projects.
Some teachers at the centre said the disturbances which have lasted for several months were working against their goal to develop the facility. Founder member Emilda Nkani said those who did not want progress should stay away from the project and leave legitimate people to run it.