The Disability Agenda Forum of Zimbabwe, an organisation representing the disabled says it has started campaigning for a No vote ahead of the second stakeholders conference joining the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)which has already rejected the draft constitution.
Tungamirai Kurunzirwa, an official with the forum said political parties and other civic society organisations are preoccupied with political power at the expense of the welfare of the disadvantaged.
“The draft constitution has got nothing really new to offer the disabled, it is far short of the demands of persons living with disabilities,” Kurunzirwa said.
“It is leaving these people at the mercy of the state powers. The draft constitution speaks to issues of the welfare of persons with disabilities without empowering them.”
Kurunzirwa said while the draft constitution makes provisions for a gender commission for the purposes of women empowerment, it is silent on the formations of a disability commission.
“It gives proportions about representation of women in parliament or in government institutions but there is no proportion of representation for people living with disabilities in these offices elected or appointed meaning that for there to be representation of disabled people, it will be at the mercy of the incumbent president, it will not be a constitutional right,” he said.
“While we appreciate the inclusion of sign language as an official language but it is only a small portion of what was demanded by persons living with disabilities.”
Meanwhile, the NCA which has already started campaigning for a No vote says it will not be participating at the second stakeholders conference to be held towards the end of this month. NCA chairperson Lovemore Madhuku told Radio Dialogue the conference is part of the flawed process.
“We will only be taking part at the referendum because it is not part of the process,” Madhuku said.