Farirai Machivenyika-Senior Reporter
The launch of the National Disability Policy by President Mnangagwa this week has been hailed as a historic development in addressing the rights and welfare of persons living with disabilities.
The President launched the NDP jointly with the Labour Migration Policy at the Harare International Conference Centre.
Senate representative for people living with disabilities, Senator Rejoice Timire welcomed the launch of the policy and thanked President Mnangagwa for prioritising their welfare.
She said there had been a vacuum on how to effectively address disability issues since 1980.
“The Policy therefore comes at the right time as we move towards Vision 2030 and we hope this will result in the inclusion of people living with disabilities in all programmes and activities towards attainment of Vision 2030,” she said.
Senator Timire said it was now up to all Zimbabweans to ensure that the provisions of the Policy were implemented.
Executive Director of the Federation of Organisations of Disabled People of Zimbabwe, Mr Leornard Marange welcomed the launch of the policy saying it showed Government’s commitment to disability inclusive development.
Deaf Zimbabwe Trust Executive Director Ms Barbra Nyangairi said the launch of the policy would address the diverse and different needs of people living with disabilities.
“Persons with disability in Zimbabwe face disproportionate levels of poverty and marginalisation and they lack access to education, employment and life opportunities owing to disability.
“The parents face expenses that other parents do not have associated with medical and assistive technology. These are issues that will be addressed by the NDP. Mainstreaming disability as the country did with gender will go a long way towards equality,” she said.
She called the alignment of the Disabled Persons Act of 1992 to the Constitution saying it had become outdated and irrelevant to the current realities of persons with disabilities.
Ms Senzeni Musevenzi said it was important that the provisions of the Policy were implemented
The key standards of the NDP were drawn from the country’s Constitution and international and continental frameworks like the UN Convention on the Rights of People living with Disabilities and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The NDP calls on Government and other stakeholders to ensure access to employment for persons with disabilities and strive to ensure that 15 percent of their workforce in all sectors comprise people with disabilities.
Employers should also observe the principle of equal pay for equal work and provide them with vocational and professional rehabilitation.
Persons with disabilities should also freely choose places they want to live and not be forced to live in particular arrangements or institutions.
The NDP urges stakeholders to integrate persons with disabilities into communities in conditions which do not leave them destitute.