People living with disabilities have expressed concern over the alleged failure by the New Dawn government to include them in key appointments that have been done so far.
The Consortium of Organisations of Persons With Disabilities charged that despite promising to be inclusive, President Hakainde Hichilema’s government has so far excluded people with disabilities in all its appointments. Consortium secretary Dr Frankson Musukwa said they had taken steps to engage President Hakainde Hichilema, but their efforts had hit a brick wall.
“We are disappointed that after 90 days plus in office, our expectations have continued to be neglected and overlooked by the new dawn administration”, Dr Musukwa said.
“We have written a couple of letters asking for engagement and social dialogue with President Hakainde Hichilema but we have never received any response or acknowledgement.”
Musukwa said President Hichilema and the UPND must be reminded that 75 percent of persons with disabilities voted for change and hope for a better governance system that is inclusive and promoting equal opportunities for all including persons with disabilities.
Dr Musukwa said the organisations had high hopes and expectations from President Hichilema as a people’s President who during campaigns promised to pay particular attention to needs of persons with disabilities. Dr Musukwa said people with disabilities did not need Bill 10 as the country has enough laws to deal with participation in governance and decision-making process.
He said the UPND manifesto on page 33 to 34 promotes participation of persons with disabilities in governance and other key decision-making, which was not happening.
Dr Musukwa alleged that the new administration had no clear policy direction on disability inclusion as can be seen so far with key appointments and nominations.
He wondered why other people could be making decisions on their behalf when they had qualified and competent persons with disabilities who could make meaningful contributions to national development if given the opportunity.
Dr Musukwa said there was need to address issues of inequality, injustice and exclusion being perpetrated by those with instruments of power by ensuring persons with disabilities were part and parcel of decision-making and governance processes.