People with disabilities have bemoaned exclusion in decision-making processes and called for equal representation from people with disability.
Speaking on the sidelines of a budget tracking training meeting for people with disabilities organised by Signs of Hope Trust in partnership with the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) stakeholders called for equal representation.
“Looking at our situation in Zimbabwe that we are suited to talk about our issue on our own, given the opportunity we will speak our story but it’s no every time we are given that space. They (government) always speak for us.
“We have tried to speak about it but we end up as being militant over it because you would not have been given the chance. We have been given an able-bodied Doctor to speak for disability issues or you are given a director of an NGO who is working on a project to speak for people with disabilities,” said Henry Kane
Another stakeholder, Nokutenda Muzuva lamented the exploitation of people with disabilities by people masquerading as good Samaritans who are pushing for self-enrichment.
“The majority of people are capitalizing on people with disabilities to start their profit-making business. Persons with disabilities are the rightful people to speak about a disability. For able-bodied people to represent us it does not augur well because they do not understand our situation,” said Muzuva
Signs of Hope Trust founder Samantha Sibanda said the country has developed a perception whereby people with disabilities are viewed as a charity case.
“There is an afterthought thing which happens and there is a social view that we have developed as a country to say who we are viewing people with disabilities. We are viewing them as beggars or charity. This is actually what we have seen, we only view them when there are donations whilst in terms of empowerment there is nothing,” said Sibanda
The budget tracking meeting was meant to capacitate people with disabilities with information on local authorities and national budget consultation processes.