Disability group presses for charter alterations ahead of polls

The Zimbabwe National League of the Blind (ZNLB) has engaged the three political parties in the inclusive government seeking alterations of clauses in the draft constitution that affect people within the Disability Movement ahead of a general election set for this year.

ZNLB Disability Rights and Advocacy Officer, Abraham Mateta says although members of the Disability Movement are going to vote at Saturday’s referendum, negotiations with political parties for a possible alteration will continue.

“There are various levels of engagement that have been commenced which include talking to political parties to register unhappiness with the contents of the draft,” Mateta said.

“We are going to the referendum this Saturday where people will choose to either reject or accept the draft constitution but we are still lobbying for alterations of clauses on disability so that they look more like human rights in nature as opposed to charity and welfare.”

Mateta said according to the COPAC draft constitution, disabled persons’ rights are subjected to the availability of resources.

“There is a resource conditionality, it imprints in the mind of those who will implement that disability is very expensive because you don’t find that condition with other groups except the elderly and sometimes children, that should be the first thing to be removed,” said Mateta.

“We are also talking about self-representation, the current draft constitution does not give that right to persons living with disabilities, it looks at these people as individuals with only social and recreational rights but we are saying disabled persons should have political and economic rights.”

Mateta said the final draft constitution should have captured the people’s views as represented in the National Statistical Report.

“We are arguing and making efforts to convince them that it is in the national interest to frame the content of the draft based on best international practices as well as the content in the National Statistical Report,” Mateta said.

 

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