THE deaf community in Mutare has lobbied Parliament of Zimbabwe to ensure inclusion of people living with disabilities in all its programmes.
BY KENNETH NYANGANI
This came at a time Parliament was training its public relations officers Sign Language to bridge the gap between Parliament and the deaf community.
In interviews with NewsDay on the sidelines of a week-long training workshop for Parliament public relations staff held in Mutare last week, the community lamented that it has been sidelined for too long.
“We have been sidelined for far too long in terms of parliamentary debates and other programmes. However, we are happy that Parliament of Zimbabwe has begun training of Sign Language and we appreciate that,” David Takaendesa said.
Claris Mupotsa said generally the deaf community was marginalised in Zimbabwe due to communication barriers they face. “We want to lobby Parliament to consider our plight as the deaf people fight for equality and recognition,” she said.
The Parliament’s director of public relations Edward Mbewe said Parliament took the training of Sign Language as a milestone in terms of national development.
“This will go a long way in bridging the gap between Parliament and the deaf community as well as cement relationships with them,” he said.
Mbewe said the interpreters would use sign language in public hearings if the need arises.
“Language is knowledge and in our world today knowledge is one of the key factors in competitiveness. Brains and knowledge create the prosperity and growth we tend to take for granted,” he said.
“In an advanced industrial society and in an increasingly interdependent world the knowledge of other languages becomes indispensable.”
Sign Language is recognised in the Constitution, section 6 (1), as one of Zimbabwe’s’ 16 official languages.
The training was conducted by Sunrise Sign Language Academy.