THE MDC Alliance is setting up an organ in the party structures that will represent the interests and aspirations of people with disabilities (PWDs) as it pushes for inclusion of marginalised groups in national programmes.
BY BRENNA MATENDERE/SILAS NKALA
Dennis Mudzingwa, the MDC Alliance national secretary for people with disabilities, confirmed the development.
A 2013 National Survey on Disability conducted by United Nations Children’s Fund, in conjunction with the government, revealed that about 7% of Zimbabwe’s 13 million population lives with disabilities, which is about 900 000 people.
The figure is believed to have increased over the past five years.
Mudzingwa said he had engaged MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa over the matter.
“Our party leader Nelson Chamisa is very excited over the idea to create a disability board in the party structures. Actually, at our party’s fourth congress, there was a resolution which was made on that issue and what is now being done is to implement that resolution,” he said.
Mudzingwa also highlighted that when put in place, the disability board would ensure that people with disabilities, particularly in urban areas, where the MDC Alliance controls local authorities, are given equal opportunities and that PWD-friendly infrastructure is built.
“What we will push for in the board is to ensure that persons with disabilities are represented in key positions of local authorities and going forward also ensure that they are represented at all levels of government structures. People with disabilities must not be treated as objects of charity and welfare cases, but equal citizens,” he said.
“Currently, at the executive level, there is no ministry that is solely dealing with disability, an occurrence that needs to be corrected.”
Ahead of this year’s July 30 polls, the MDC Alliance tried to correct the imbalances that exist between people with disabilities and those that are able-bodied through creating a quota system.
The party reserved some constituencies for people with disabilities to contest unopposed.
The MDC Alliance disability board is expected to be activated before the party goes to congress next year.
Meanwhile, the MDC Alliance on Saturday conducted a meeting to ensure a smooth integration of its seven partners as the party escalates efforts to return to its original MDC status. MDC Alliance Bulawayo spokesperson Felix Magalela Sibanda confirmed the development yesterday.
“The exercise was led by the national organising secretary Amos Chibaya and the new firebrand chairperson Tabitha Khumalo, it was graced by the MDC vice-president Welshman Ncube and other national executive council members.
“The thrust of the meeting was on the unity and integration of MDC Alliance partners and briefing Bulawayo structures about the 19th anniversary to be held in Harare in due course regardless of Zanu PF tactical moves to frustrate the swearing-in of president Nelson Chamisa as the authentic State President because of their inherent fear … for (they) are aware that the rightful State President is not Emmerson Mnangagwa but Advocate Chamisa,” Sibanda said.
He said Mnangagwa is a de facto President and is in the presidential office by default due to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and Constitutional Court manipulation.
“However, that great phenomenon was violently manipulated by the aforementioned constitutional bodies for reasons known to themselves,” he said.
Sibanda said it was discussed that all MDC Alliance rebels who stood as independent candidates in past elections, be it in council or parliamentary, had fired themselves from the party.
“However, if they have compelling reasons, they can appeal, stating why they violated party protocol, regulations and the constitution. Each case will be considered on its merits or demerits,” he said.
The alliance now is readying itself for the 2023 elections, which it is set to contest, as original MDC.