NORTON MP Temba Mliswa (Independent) has blasted government for failing to take care of people with disabilities (PWDs) as stipulated in section 83 of the Constitution.

BY STAFF REPORTER

Section 83 of the Constitution states that “the State must take appropriate measures within the limits of the resources available to ensure that PWDs realise their full mental and physical potential…”

Mliswa was contributing to debate recently in the National Assembly which was moved by Bikita South MP Josiah Sithole (Zanu PF) on all-inclusive development policies to cater for PWDs.
He said the country’s national budget had failed to prioritise PWDs for them to be self-sufficient.

“We know that some of them cannot even get to areas where government programmes are being carried out because of their disability. What measures have you put in place to make sure that they get there or to make sure that they get what belongs to them without it being a favour, but being an entitlement because of the condition that they are in?” Mliswa asked.

“If anything, PWDs are actually neglected because most of us are able-bodied. We have never understood how one who is disabled functions. We are guilty as charged as MPs because when we are going to elections as politicians, we look for them because we want their votes.”

The Norton MP said very few PWDs were in the corridors of power, adding that political parties were also failing to include PWDs in powerful positions.

“It is critical that political parties are able to accommodate PWDs in the corridors of power. How many political parties have got disabled people in leadership? In this very same august House, how many disabled people are chairing Parliamentary committees or are in the influence of power?”

Mliswa apologised to PWDs, saying that as MPs, they had been insensitive to their plight.
He said during the COVID-19 pandemic, PWDs were neglected, but he lauded First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa for distributing hampers to students with disabilities.

“There must be a law put in place to deal with any person that abuses a person who is disabled. It must not be less than 10 years imprisonment. The 10%-15% which we all know is what they constitute from a demographic point of view must be reflective in government, Parliament, parastatals and representation on boards,” Mliswa said.

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