By Tapiwa Mutizamhepo
Zanu PF National Youth Secretary, Kudzanayi Chipanga has torched a storm amongst the disabled community for his utterances he made whilst addressing Zanu-PF supporters in Marondera last Saturday during recent the inaugural Presidential Youth Interface rally.
Whilst addressing Zanu PF youths at the rally, meant to mobilize youths to register and vote for the party in the harmonized elections due in 2018, Chipanga called unregistered party youths “abnormal and disabled”.
“If you a Zanu PF youth and you are not registered to vote hausi mu youth akakwana, you are a disabled youth”, said Chipanga.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a wheelchair user, said Chipanga’s sentiments and selection of words bear testimony of the attitudes that political leaders have towards issues to do with disabilities.
“It is sad to note that such inflammatory utterances are coming from a person regarded as a leader, his sentiments insinuate that it is perfectly normal and understandable for people for people with disabilities not to participate in political processes ‘of the country, I believe this is disability discrimination as outlawed by section 56 of the Constitution”, he said.
Judith, who is visually impaired says; “The country still has a lot of work to do in educating society to and leaders to refrain from using certain expressions that may cause adverse implications on us and the society.
“Mr. Chipanga needs lessons on disability, he is chasing away youths with disabilities from his party, yet we are potential voters”, said Judith.
Contacted for comment a Senator representing people with disabilities, Hon Nyamayabo Mashavakure, called Mr. Chipanga’s sentiments as “unfortunate” and as a clear of a sign of “innocent ignorance” of disability issues on the part of some leaders.
Section 56 of the Zimbabwean constitution outlaws unfair discrimination of persons on “such grounds as their nationality, race ,colour, tribe, place of birth ethnic or social origin, language, class, political affiliation, custom, culture, sex, gender, marital status, age, pregnancy, disability or economic or social status or whether they were born in or out of wedlock.