By Patrick Soko
The Disability movement says it will send a report to the United Nations Resident Coordinator for onward transmission to the office of the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities.
The Consortium is of the firm belief that the intolerance, violence and intimidation creates an environment that is hostile for persons with disabilities to participate in the political and public life if the country.
Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities Acting Director-General Julien Mwape noted discriminatory, violence and intolerance by the certain political party towards persons with disabilities.
Ms Mwape said the case in point is an advert depicting a blind man as a symbol of persons with no vision.
“The said political party ran adverts on television in 2016 depicting a man with dark glasses and a walking can as a person without a vision. This advert was very demeaning and discriminatory towards people with visual impairment. Disability Rights Watch wrote a letter of demand to them at which the advert was withdrawn,” she said.
“The second one is assaulting a physically challenged person who had gone to lobby for Mixed Member electoral system. The same political party in March 2020 upon being approached outside the residence of their leader in a peaceful way, decided not to hear a petition of persons with disabilities that had come to lobby the leader and his Members of Parliament to support self-representation and political diversity in Parliament, instead gave an instruction to the security personnel to chase and assault persons with disabilities.”
She lamented that the next day, the same political party released a position that persons with disabilities should just fight for social cash transfer.
She adds that this political party has consistently violated the rights of persons with disabilities without a conscience.
And Consortium National Spokesperson Francis Chishala said the Consortium regrets that its efforts to support the current Bill 10 of 2019 with recommendations of the Select Committee taken into account has been politicized by some circles.
Mr Chishala invited persons with disabilities and other citizens and stakeholders including political parties and their leaders to discuss and educate one another on the Mixed Member electoral system proposed and it’s ramifications.
He said persons with disabilities want safe seats in Parliament to represent themselves across partisan lines and take part in holding the executive to account with the mandate given by the public so that they can contribute to the enactment of laws which after all affect them as well.
Meanwhile, Deaf Youth and Women Director Frank Musukwa, who spoke through an interpreter, appealed to all MPs to support Bill 10 as it will help persons with disabilities to be part of governance.