Unveiling the Voices of Persons with Disabilities in Zimbabwe’s Pursuit of Inclusivity

By Julius Pembere –

The recent series of dialogues hosted by the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, under the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD), accentuated the significant role of the Church in advocating for the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Zimbabwean society.

These dialogues provided a platform for PWDs to voice their concerns, share experiences, and contribute to the ongoing review of the PWD Bill.

The PWDs have welcomed the work being done by the ZCC as the dialogues have provided them with a safe platform to articulate their concerns and aspirations with the hope that it will reach the relevant stakeholders.

“The Church is doing wonderful work in making sure that we are given a platform to freely air out our issues. We hope that this will help us reach the government. Improved communication channels are essential to ensure that information about disability rights reaches every corner of Zimbabwe”, said one of the participants.

During the dialogues that were held in Chiredzi, Neamwa and Bubi clamoured for the establishment of the Commission for Persons with Disabilities, as outlined in the PWD Bill. Participants advocated for greater representation of PWDs in the decision-making process, echoing the principles of inclusivity and equality championed by many faith-based organizations.

Participants expressed concerns about the role of the Director of Disability Affairs, being an ex officio member. This arrangement may compromise the autonomy of the Commission and its ability to effectively address the needs of PWDs. The discussions highlighted the importance of ensuring that the Director of Disability Affairs operates independently to advocate for the rights and interests of PWDs in Zimbabwe’s devolution framework.

The PWDs have expressed hope that the involvement of the Church in the dialogues on disability rights and the PWD Bill will assist them in being recognised as an important constituency in the country. 

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