As the clock ticks towards the 2018 harmonised elections, disabled people feel left out by political parties and the government in contributing to the national development agenda.
The people living with disabilities converged in Harare today for a function dubbed: ‘Celebrating Women With Disabilities,’ and discussed the importance of taking part in the electoral process.
The burden for people with disabilities is unbearable as often times society leaves them at the periphery of activities though the constitution clearly equates all people regardless of their physical abilities or disabilities.
Signs of Hope Trust founder and organiser of the Celebrating Women with Disabilities discussion, Samantha Gwizi said it is worse for disabled women who find it increasingly difficult to participate in elections as either voters or candidates.
Her views are echoed by Add International Ambassador Soneni Gwizi, while outspoken lawyer, Advocate Abraham Mateta weighed in saying disabled people have had to endure a double tragedy as a result of neglect by both political parties and the government in as far as their inclusion to the national development agenda is concerned.
“Even when the 60 seats were included in the constitution to be reserved for women, no political party thought of disabled women’s inclusion,” he said.
An aspiring councilor, Nyasha Nhau however said he is fed up of complaining and has taken the bull by the horns by vying for a council seat in Chitungwiza during the forthcoming polls.
Firebrand lawyer and aspiring independent legislator for Mt Pleasant constituency, Advocate Fadzayi Mahere said politicians and the government must be taken to account for refusal to comply with the constitutional rights of the disabled.
“Our government listens to protest, the legal route can be too cumbersome but if u raise your concerns they will listen,” she promised.
As the 2018 harmonised polls proclamation draws nearer all social groups, political parties, aspiring candidates and registered voters have their expectations and they are all laying out their demands which will obviously form a manifesto.
Not to be outdone are the disabled people, who feel that they have a huge role to play in determining the country’s future.