By Tendai Munengwa
Youths with disabilities say there is a need for more representation in political and socio-economic spheres for them to make an impact in national development.
People with disabilities constitute 7 per cent of the country’s population yet they are either not or less represented in local authorities, parliament and other key institutions.
With the country finalising a disability policy, young people who took part in a Youths with Disability policy dialogue in Harare this Tuesday expressed hope that their concerns with regards to the issue of representation will be addressed if they are to make an impact in the country’s development.
“People with disabilities constitute about 7 per cent of the whole population but unfortunately we only have two senators and no representation in the National Assembly, local authorities and even boards,” said Nyasha Museruka.
Development Aid from people to people Programmes Manager Petros Muzuva said, “We are happy we have representatives from the Ministry of Local Government attending and we hope they will consider putting in place infrastructure that is suitable for people with disabilities.”
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, Honourable Mathias Tongofa called for a disability quota in local authorities and parliament.
Section 22 of the Constitution stipulates that the rights of people with disabilities are observed. There are rights to do with representation, communication in courts and media, their education, health and infrastructure.
Several stakeholders including, legislators, government officials and civic organisations were part of the dialogue.