I feel honoured to release this National Disability Policy, a first for Zimbabwe. Persons with disabilities represent one of the most marginalised minority groups in the world; hence, their needs and concerns are commonly ignored, suppressed and “buried under the carpet.” This policy seeks to address the marginalisation and discrimination of persons with disabilities in Zimbabwe, to empower them to improve their own quality of life and to enable them to contribute towards the national development agenda.
The Government of Zimbabwe is committed to fulfilling, promoting, protecting and respecting the rights of persons with disabilities. The Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Act, 2013, guarantees fundamental human rights and freedoms amongst them equality, dignity, justice, and respect of all people as well as an inclusive society for all. Drawing from such constitutional provisions, and other frameworks that include the National Transitional Stabilisation Program (Reforms Agenda) 2018, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006), the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa (2018), and the Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030), this National Disability Policy sets standards for disability law and practice in Zimbabwe.
I acknowledge the boys, girls, men and women who experience disability in different ways. However, I caution against privileging gender at the expense of additional identity markers that intersect with disability to frame the life worlds of persons with disabilities. I therefore call for an approach which recognises the intersection of disability with not only gender, but with various social life attributes that include age, culture, religion, sexuality, language and class, in framing the experiences of persons with disabilities, so that measures that make relevant and holistic positive differences in their lives can be taken.
I buttress the fact that persons with visible and invisible disabilities are found across all communities and all sectors impact upon them, hence the successful implementation of this policy, remains the responsibility of us all, with the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare taking the lead towards ensuring an inclusive society.
HONOURABLE PROFESSOR PAUL MAVIMA
This National Disability Policy (NDP) represents work undertaken by duty bearers and persons with disabilities and their representative organisations in Zimbabwe. Sincere gratitude goes to:
- His Excellency Cde. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, The President of the Republic of Zimbabwe
- Honourable Dr. M.J.M Sibanda – Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet
- Honourable Joshua Teke Malinga, Special Advisor on National Disability Issues in the Office of the President and Cabinet
- Honourable Professor Paul Mavima, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare
- Mr Simon Masanga, Permanent Secretary – Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare
- Mr Clifford Matorera, Chief Director – Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare
- Dr. Christine Peta, the then UNICEF Disability Expert and now Director – Disability Affairs – Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare
- Social Development Officers – Disability Affairs – Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare
- Mrs Rejoice Timire and Mr Watson Khupe – Senators on disability issues
- Ms Mercy Maunganidze – The National Disability Board chairperson and all board members
- The United Nations Country Team through the UN Resident Coordinator.
- Academics – Professor Elias Mpofu, Professor Martin Musengi, Dr. Callista Kahonde, Dr. Philippa Mutswanga, Mr Wilson Tarusarira, and Mr Noel Dangarembwa
- The Federation of Organisations of Persons with Disabilities in Zimbabwe (FODPZ)
- The National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped (NASCOH)
- Government ministries, civil society, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), community support organisations (CSOs), media, the private sector, academia, traditional leaders, and all stakeholders that are not mentioned by name herein.
- Children and adults with disabilities and their representative organisations in Zimbabwe, for their active participation and involvement in the policymaking process, including through openly sharing their feelings, thoughts, experiences and aspirations.