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Jacob Mudenda under fire

by Mandla Ndlovu
05 Dec 2019 at 18:04hrs | Views
Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda today expressed ignorance and a lack of concern over the legislative challenges and needs of persons with disabilities.

Jacob Mudenda was speaking as one of the guests of honour at the He For She accountability event hosted by the Ambassador of Canada in Zimbabwe Rene Cremonese in conjunction with the UN Women Country Representative Ms Delphine Serumaga.

In September 2014, UN Women launched the global HeforShe Campaign; a solidarity movement which seeks to engage men and boys as advocates and agents of change for the achievement of gender equality and women's rights.
The movement encourages men and boys to commit to speaking out and taking action against inequalities faced by women and girls in their respective communities and spheres of influence.

During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence in 2018, eight (8)Heads of Missions in Zimbabwe for Australia, Canada, the European Union, India,
Japan, South Africa, the United States of America and Zambia, the Charge d' Affaires of the British Embassy, the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations and the Regional Director for UNESCO Southern Africa joined the HeForShe global
movement for gender equality. It has been one full year since they took their pledges and as part of their accountability, they will be taking stock of the contribution they have made to the promotion of gender equality.

The HeforShe Accountability Meeting was held on Thursday the 5th of December 2019, from 7.30am to 11:00am at the Royal Harare Golf Club.

It was at the event that a female disability activist asked the Speaker of Parliament if the  disability act was going to be revised anytime soon considering that it was outdated and out of sync with the new constitution and the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities.

Advocate Mudenda skirted on the issues and arrogantly replied that "It was not his place as there were disabled ministers and senators that are supposed to push for those things "

This response left disability activists feeling defeated and relegated to the dustbins of legislative agenda. The comment by the Speaker of Parliament are rather unfortunate as they come a day after World Disability day which was commemorated under the theme : Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda.

President  Mnangagwa has in the past bemoaned the slow pace of legislative reform in the House of Assembly. Jacob Mudenda has not taken any action to ensure that the house moves at speed and in line with the development and result oriented pace of the Second Republic.

Commenting on the Speaker of Parliament's remarks ZANU PF DCC3 Secretary for Disability Gift Mabhaudhi said "The UN Secretary General said: When we secure the rights of people with disabilities, we move closer to achieving the central promise of the 2030 Agenda – to leave no one behind. Zimbabwe is lagging behind on the domestication of the UNCRPD, our disability act is outdated, our national disability policy is in shambles and we are a long way from the bear minimums.

"Our politicians love to include us in speeches as window dressing, yet passive when it comes to real action. I celebrate this day with a heavy heart, admiring fellow PWDs in South Africa and other countries where real action is taken to transform the quality of life for PWDs.

"I wish our government could do more and do it urgently, yet here we are with a Speaker of Parliament who feels it is not his place to be pushing for modernised legislation that meets the needs and challenges of Persons with disabilities.

"We shall be writing to the ZANU PF National Chairperson, expressing our dissatisfaction and concens over the statement by the speaker of Parliament as well as the slow pace of legislative reforms on disability issues, it is time the ruling party set the pace and tone for serious action on disability issues."

Source - Byo24News