THE Senator representing people with disabilities, Watson Khupe, has aligned himself to Zanu PF party, in a move which might benefit the ruling party, which does not have a two-thirds majority in the Upper House.
BY KUDZAI MUCHENJEKWA
The ruling party would need the 18 senator chiefs and the two senators representing the disabled to attain a two-thirds majority.
In an interview with NewsDay on the sidelines of the swearing-in ceremony for MPs on Wednesday, Khupe said his main responsibilities were to give a voice to people living with disabilities in Parliament, but inadvertently also disclosed that he was a Zanu PF member.
Zanu PF has 35 senators, and in order to make a two-thirds majority, 54 votes are needed as required by section 344(3) of the Constitution.
Even if all 18 senator chiefs were to vote with Zanu PF, it would total 53, and would still need one more senator to make up the 54 needed votes.
“The strategy that works is that our party, Zanu PF, is the party of the liberation struggle, and it is the party which is supposed to give guidance to all arms of the state, and if they say let us amend the Constitution, it will not be rejected because Zanu PF has a two-thirds majority,” Khupe said.
“This will give us an advantage as people living with disabilities because if we suggest that the Constitution should be amended to increase the numbers of persons with disabilities in leadership posts, they will not refuse,” he said.
Khupe said in the past when government was questioned over failure to increase the numbers of persons with disabilities in leadership posts and Parliament, they said the opposition did not support it.
“All along, the opposition was their scapegoat, but now that Zanu PF is in power, and if they reject us as people living with disabilities, then we will say that they have disowned us for the past 39 years,” he said.
Khupe said now that Zanu PF had two-thirds majority in the National Assembly, it was an opportunity for them to show that they cared about people with disabilities and to align disability laws to the Constitution.
For several years, people living with disabilities have cried foul over suppression of their voices by government and failure to include them in authoritative positions in government, Parliament and business.