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Leadership and Participation of persons with Disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19

Zimbabwe joined the rest of the world in commemorating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) on 3 December 2021 under the theme: “Leadership and Participation of persons with Disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19”.

This year’s commemorations of IDPD brought together participants from across the nation who included persons with disabilities, organisations of persons with disabilities and umbrella organisations. The commemorations also came at a time when the government of Zimbabwe recently launched the National Disability Policy, which was hailed by many persons with disabilities as a positive step towards ensuring the attainment of disability rights in Zimbabwe. 

In his solidarity message, Acting Director of the National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped (NASCOH) Mr Masaya, acknowledged Government of Zimbabwe’s efforts in advancing the rights of persons of disabilities and emphasised the need for a Disability Bill to ensure that the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is domesticated.   

The Minister of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare, Professor Paul Mavhima graced the event and reiterated the Zimbabwean government’s commitment in ensuring disability inclusion. He highlighted the  need to ensure that all persons with disabilities access basic services such as education and health. 

The commitment of the government of Zimbabwe in ensuring disability inclusion has also been commended by the United Nations in Zimbabwe. Speaking on behalf of the UN Resident Coordinator, UNICEF Deputy Representative Zeinab Adam thanked the government for showing commitment towards disability rights through the launch of the policy. 

This year’s commemorations took place after the historic appointment of the first visually impaired high court judge in Zimbabwe, Judge Samuel Deme who is a former member of the national disability board.

Most persons with disabilities hailed this as a positive step towards the meaningful participation and inclusion of persons with disabilities.