WASHINGTON DC —
Zimbabwe on Wednesday joined the rest of the world in marking the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
No official events were, however, lined up to mark the day but educationists called for an end to the invisibility and exclusion of children and young people with disabilities from the education system.
Masimba Kuchera of the Center for Disability and Development and his colleague, Abraham Mateta, wrote to President Robert Mugabe in their personal capacity calling on the government to do more to improve the lives of people living with disabilities in the country.
The two applauded the president for ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in September last year.
Their letter reads in part: “It is however, with great sadness that we note that the behaviour of the party and government over which you preside has not been such as to enable the translation of the good convention into practical policies from which persons with disabilities are able to fully enjoy their rights.
“In fact, we dread to indicate that the Convention could have joined many other files in government offices which have been nicely stacked and are in need of dusting.”
They noted that "since the ratification of the Convention, we have not really seen anything worthy of talking about.
“As we write, your (Zanu-PF) congress has been chosen to be in its second day during the International Day for Persons with Disabilities and this is the third year with your government letting this day pass like a birthday of an old useless donkey.”
They said the Disability Board continues to work under the Department of Social Services where it is in practice and principle non-existent.
They added that the best that they have seen has been an attempt by some government officials to pay lip service to disability development.