ABOUT 95% of women and children with disabilities in Chiredzi do not have civil documents such as birth certificates and national identity cards and are calling on government to ensure they easily obtain documentation which would enable compilation of accurate statistics of people with disabilities (PDWs).
BY GARIKAI MAFIRAKUREVA
Participants at a Women With Disabilities sensitisation workshop on the proposed second Constitutional Amendment Bill, organised by Institute for Communication Development Zimbabwe (ICODZ), argued that PWDs were treated as second-class citizens, marginalised, excluded and poorest groups in Chiredzi.
One of the facilitators, lawyer Emmanuel Chibudu, who took participants through the sections of the proposed Amendment Bill said the government had failed to consider PWDs in section 11 of the proposed Bill because it did not have accurate data on the number of PWDs.
Part of section 11 of the Bill proposes provisions that seek to extend the life of the 60 proportional representation seats reserved for women by another 10 years and the introduction of youth representation quotas, with 10 seats reserved for youths, aged 21 to 35 years.
MDC legislator for Chiredzi, Mucharairwa Mugidho (Proportional Representation), who is living with a disability, urged ICODZ to engage political parties so that of the 60 seats reserved for women, 10 be for PWDs.
She also said should the Bill that seeks to increase the number of ministerial appointees by the President outside Parliament from five to seven sail through, preference should be given to at least two PWDs.
“I urge you as an organisation to engage all political parties so that out of the 60 seats reserved for women, they set aside 10 seats for people with disabilities. The same should be applied to youths. At least three seats should be reserved for the physically disadvantaged youths,” Mugidho said.
Human rights monitor Marko Shoko urged participants to demand “active” seats in Parliament whereby members are elected.
“As PWDs, you should demand that a certain number of seats be contested by physically disadvantaged people only. In that way you will be empowered and at the same time recognised at an equal footing as your able-bodied counterparts,” Shoko said.
“You should not fall for just proportional representation which is regarded as seats reserved for second-class members of Parliament.”
ICODZ director Talent Maphosa said her organisation sought to train PWDs to participate in community development through lobbying.
“When consultations begin, you should all attend and give your input as people living with disabilities. We don’t want a situation whereby you end up complaining that you are being sidelined when you don’t participate at such crucial events,” Mabika said.
According to the 2013 National Survey on Living Conditions among Persons with Disabilities in Zimbabwe, the prevalence of disability in the country is estimated to be 7%, amounting to approximately 914 287 persons based on the total Zimbabwe population of 13 061 239 (Zimbabwe 2012 population census).