Patrick Chitumba–Midlands Bureau Chief
PEOPLE with Disabilities (PWDs) have guaranteed President Mnangagwa over 600 000 votes in the 2023 harmonised elections.
The PWDs commended the President for pushing their needs first, a positive development that will see them voting for him.
In his speech at the 9th National Disability Expo at Gweru Sports Club grounds on Wednesday, its chairperson Mr Tafadzwa Matope said there were over 600 000 votes for President Mnangagwa come 2023.
“President Mnangagwa, I want to assure you that there are 600 000 votes for you come 2023. You will go back to office in 2023. We want to thank you for championing the needs of PWDs. You launched the National Disability Policy in June and now you are spearheading the Disability Bill. As the disability fraternity, we are proud of your guidance and we are happy to support you come 2023,” he said.
Mr Matope had President Mnangagwa in stitches when he gave him his speech that was written in braille, much to the excitement of the people.
“Mr President, you can follow my speech as I go through it. It is written in braille,” joked Mr Matope.
He said through the Second Republic, there were desks in ministries that were being opened for PWDs.
“We want to be part of Pfumvudza/ Intwasa. We are able to engage in farming, we want to be educated also and therefore the need for the removal of barriers in education, we are not allowed, excluded. We want this expo by 2023 to be part of the National calendar of events and our vision is to make this expo regional and international. President Mnangagwa, you are doing well for us but we also need jobs, we have qualified people who want to be in positions of leadership,” he said, imitating the voice of President Mnangagwa.
Public Service and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima said PWDs constitute 15 percent of the country’s population.
“In their history, this is the first time that the President has graced this expo. PWDs constitute 15 percent of the population.
So, we can’t leave them behind in line with vision 2030. We need to look at their rights so that we don’t leave behind 15 percent of our population behind,” he said.
“We want to thank the United Nations family working with the Ministry of Public Service and Social Welfare conducting a census, looking for information with regards to the PWDs. This is for our policy on disabilities. We want to thank the Government which ratified the convention of people with disabilities.”
The Special Advisor on National Disability Issues in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Cde Joshua Malinga, said he is working with the President and Cabinet on a master plan to remove some barriers faced by PWDs.
“The barriers are made by men for men, like access to buildings where some don’t have ramps. There are barriers in politics where disabled people are sidelined from participating and they are created by men. There are barriers in economics, money, employment etcetera which are all created by men. Culture is created by men who put social systems and all of them can be removed and there is nothing that can stop President Mnangagwa from removing them,” said Cde Malinga.
“In my office I have a master plan on reaching the basic stage to remove the barriers. The only minister who spends time thinking about disabilities and barriers is Prof Mavima, others I don’t know. We request therefore that disabilities issues are put across all development issues in all ministries.”