BY NUNURAI JENA
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s special advisor on disability issues Joshua Malinga yesterday said sometimes society treats people living with disabilities worse than wild animals.
Speaking during a public meeting in Chinhoyi on the Persons Living With Disabilities Bill, Malinga said the disabled should take advantage of the consultations to influence the crafting of a law that will improve their welfare.
“We are also human beings, but we are labelled disabled by society and sometimes treat us as useless people who are worse off than animals” he said.
Malinga said discrimination against people living with disabilities in Zimbabwe was similar to the treatment black South Africans got during apartheid.
“It is discrimination, it is like apartheid in South Africa, it is a crime and leads to underdevelopment,” he said.
Most people who contributed during the discussion said the Disability Act should create a stand-alone ministry for the disabled since the Labour and Social Welfare ministry was overburdened.
The blind spoke out strongly against being helped to vote, saying the secrecy of the ballot was compromised.
The meeting gave the disabled the opportunity to attack social welfare officials for sidelining them during food distribution.
But social welfare officer Sinikiwe Chishakwe urged the disabled to register for food distribution in their respective districts.
“If you go back to your district, check with your district development officer so that you are included on the drought relief list,” Chishakwe said.
Zimbabwe did not have a disability policy since 1980 but the existing Disability Act was crafted way back in 1992.