Blind World Magazine

Minister defends rights of the disabled.

October 26, 2005.
Swazi Observer, Swaziland.

THE Minister of Justice, Human Rights, Law and Constitutional Affairs in Lesotho, Moses Masemane, has said the rights of people with disabilities are the same as any human rights.

The minister (who is visually impaired ) made these remarks during a day-long workshop held at the King Sobhuza II Memorial Park yesteray.

The workshop was aimed at sensitising parliamentarians on the development of people with disabilities. The Lesotho minister was the guest speaker.

Another guest speaker was a Member of the National Parliament in South Africa, Lewis Nzimande, who is also visually impaired.

Also present was United States Ambassador Lewis Lucke, whose government financed the workshop.

Masemane said people living with disbilities had been in existence from time immemorial, further recalling that they suffered the most in times of war. He also observed that this section of the population was the most despised.

He expressed his happiness that Africa now had many organisations for the people living with disabilities.

SA Member of Parliament (Nzimande) said people living with disabilities should join hands in order to produce an agenda that would look into getting rid of the harsh conditions they faced at present.

He suggested that now that Swaziland was working towards decentralisation, it was important to put on board people living with disabilities so that they articulate their aspirations through policy. He also said these would be realised with represesntation in both houses of parliament and at the tinkhundla level.

Bheki Jele, who is the Secretary of the General Federation Of the Disabled of Swaziland (FODSWA), said his organisation's vision touched on equal rights and opportunities for all. He added that its mission was to co-ordinate the activities of its members effectively and efficiently, empowering them as strong advocates providing direction on disability issues for the attainment of equal rights and opportunities for all living with disabilities.

Speaker in the house of assembly S'gayoyo Magongo said in the case of disability, anybody could be physically challenged. He further told the workshop how he survived a tragic accident that almost left him paralysed.

Magongo said Members of Parliament had an obligation to support people living with disabilities.

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