In addition to swelling the ranks of the estimated population of 2.4 million people with disabilities (PWDs) in the country (15% of the national population), we now have a population of newly-disabled Zimbabweans who have not yet developed coping mechanisms to mitigate their impairments, have been deprived of access to livelihoods due to the resultant lack of mobility, and families that have to adjust their lifestyles to look after newly-disabled children and even adults. The country’s consistntly haemorrhaging economy, resultant economic and social woes, and negative societal attitudes against people with disabilities, and lack of gainful employment , and a generalised rise in mental and psychosocial conditions, compound the disability problematic. This is exacerbated by the non-domestication of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which Zimbabwe signed and ratified in September 2013, but has not yet domesticated.
As Zimbabwe begins to refocus its energies towards rebuilding the country’s battered economic infrastructure and attending to the multifacetted challenges bedevilling the country’s citizens following the disturbances that recently rocked the country, Zimbabweans have to grapple with an often overlooked byproduct of violence – the beatings and shootings have resulted in a number of Zimbabweans being permanently disabled.
We call upon all sector of society to eschew violence and the government to put in place holistic, integrated approaches to disability inclusion grounded on putting in place measures to ensure full and effective participation and inclusion of PWDs across all social, economic, polical and cultural provisions outlined in the CRPD. Ad hoc, reactive and piecemeal approaches to disability inclusion will not guarantee peace for PWDs in Zimbabwe. A violence-free society is an antecedent for peace in any country.
National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped
6 Drummond Close
National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped is a coordinating body for disability organisations in Zimbabwe