Wednesday, 23 February 2011


By Globe Reporter
MONGU Municipal Council will not approve building plans without ramps, Mongu Town Clerk, Frank Kalenga has announced.
Meanwhile, Persons with Disabilities in Mongu have resolved to request the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to establish a polling station at Sefula School for the Blind in Mongu to enable them vote in this year’s tripartite election, introduce Braille voter education materials for the blind and sign language for the deaf.
Speaking during Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) organized stakeholders’ meeting on persons with disabilities in Mongu, Kalenga said: ““We have made it rule that no building plans that have no ramps will be approved by the council.”
FODEP executive director MacDonald Chipenzi said the move by Mongu Municipal Council not accept and approve any building plans without provisions for ramps would go a long way in improving persons with disabilities’ (PwDs) access to public buildings.
He commended Mongu Municipal Council for its efforts aimed at improving accessibility of persons with disabilities to public buildings.
Chipenzi urged all councils in the country to follow suit.
“It is undeniable fact that most public buildings such as schools, shops, clinics, government offices among others are inaccessible by persons with disabilities especially those on wheelchairs. Since some of the buildings are used as registration and polling centres during elections, many of the PwDs are unable to access them thereby denying the enjoyment of their universal right to register as voters and also vote,” he said.
The PwDs in the province noted that Senanga Special Unit for the deaf is always left out on ECZ voter education programmes because the ECZ Voter facilitators do not know how to use sign language to communicate to them.
The PWDs asked Zambia Agency for Persons with Disability (ZAPD) and government to quickly address the issue of transport for the PwDs in the country as they were made to pay twice due to the presence of guides for them to be mobile.
They called for special bus fares for PwDs.
The PwDs also challenged political parties to adopt PwDs candidates in this year’s elections and safeguard the safety of PwDs during rallies by avoiding violence because violence is a recipe for poor participation of PwDs in the electoral process. They urged election-monitoring organisations such as FODEP to recruit PwDs as monitors during elections.
The meeting which was organised by the Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) with support from the British High Commission (BHC) under the project dubbed “Improving access and participation of persons with disabilities in the electoral process in Zambia”, was attended by political parties, CSOs, disability organisations and police.

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