UN hails Zimbabwe government’s stance on persons with disabilities

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Harare – The government of Zimbabwe has been hailed for mainstreaming disability issues through the gazetting of the Persons with Disabilities Bill which will go a long way in upholding the principle of aiding meaningful participation of persons with disabilities in all facets of life.
Ms. Fiona Adolu, a representative from the United Nations (UN) Zimbabwe Coordinator’s Office, who was addressing stakeholders at a recent meeting to unpack and understand the Persons with Disabilities Bill, said while legislative processes are often slow and laden with bureaucracy, the Bill had moved considerably fast.
Sightsavers Zimbabwe, which recently launched the Equal Zimbabwe campaign, convened the meeting where it invited different organizations from across the country that cater to those with disabilities to come up with inputs on the Bill.
“I began working in Zimbabwe in 2018 and the Bill began being formulated in 2019. I am so happy now to hear that the Bill has been gazetted. This is indeed a testimony and commitment by the government of Zimbabwe in trying to get the Bill into law.
“I am also pleased to note that sometime last year, the government of Zimbabwe also committed on the international stage at a Human Rights conference, to drive persons with disability issues on the agenda and also include them in decision making and policymaking,” she said.
Adolu said as the UN, they are proud to be complementing government efforts in pushing the agenda of persons with disabilities.
She said she hoped that the final Bill would have input from different sectors of those with disabilities to make it inclusive.
Adolu said she was grateful to be working with a local non-governmental organization, Sightsavers, which is spearheading the Bill consultations.
Equal Zimbabwe Campaign Chairperson, Mr. Leonard Marange, said he was pleased that the government had finally gazetted the Persons with Disabilities Bill, and there is going to be a thorough nationwide contribution to suit the needs of persons with disabilities from different backgrounds.
“The parliamentary portfolio committee will soon be conducting outreaches in various areas across the country to get inputs for the Bill before it awaits the President’s signature.
“This is why we are here today with several disability organizations from across the county to unpack the Bill not only to understand it but also to see where it lacks to improve it.
“When the parliamentary portfolio committee moves around, we will be ready with solid contributions,” he said.
The move to have the Bill come into law comes after President Emmerson Mnangagwa launched the National Disability Policy in 2021.
The policy seeks to address the oppression, marginalisation, and discrimination that persons with disabilities experience and to improve their standards of living and their families.