By Hakainde Hichilema
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) is observed every 3rd December of each year, to promote the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities and to take special measures in the incorporation of persons with disabilities in all aspects of community development of any nation. The year’s theme is ‘Building Back Better: towards a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World’.
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly disrupted routines, and diminished services that have negatively impacted the lives and mental well-being of people with disabilities.
In Zambia, people with disabilities face many unmitigated challenges, the most critical one being access to different special services, and the non-regulation of necessary legal frameworks that alleviate the suffering of persons with disabilities.
We are therefore aware that these challenges are exacerbated by among other things, the inadequate mainstreaming of
disabilities in the overall legislative framework; inadequate integration in government and other stakeholders policies, and the lack of, or in some cases insufficient awareness among the different intervenors, and the roles they can play in supporting persons with disabilities claim their rightful place among their ordinary counterparts.
As UPND, we will work on eliminating bottlenecks and vulnerabilities that inhibit people with disabilities in realising their full potential to contribute to their wellbeing, as well as fully participate in activities of their communities without any form of discrimination.
We wish all our citizens, especially persons with disabilities, a successful ‘International Day of Persons with Disabilities’ commemoration day. Disability is not inability, as UPND we will leave no one behind. God bless you.