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MP decries mistreatment of disabled persons

30th January 2011
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Al–Shyamaa Kweigyr

A nominated Member of Parliament on ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) ticket has decried what she described as inhuman conditions, which people with special needs are subjected to in utter disregard to their entitled rights.

Al–Shyamaa Kweigyr (pictured) said that people with disability grapple with discrimination, abuse, neglect and user–unfriendly infrastructures among a horde of other challenges several decades after the country attained independence.

Kweigyr, presiding over the Annual Programme Meeting of a local non–governmental organisation, said earlier this week that Tanzania risks losing its national cohesion if marginalization of these people continues.

The programme is dedicated to fighting preventable blindness in the country, Sightsavers Tanzania. She expressed indignation on brutal killings of albinos in the country that attracted worldwide condemnation some years back.

It is highly ridiculous that in this current age and time, people still cling to outdated and misplaced belief that body parts of people with albinism condition are a sure ticket to attaining wealth. What kind of mentality is that?” she queried.

According to Kweigyr, these acts are perpetrated by relatives of the victims, who for want of quick riches get directly involved, or act in collusion with wealth-hungry individuals, in killing albinos for their organs.

However, she said the killings have become fewer after she teamed up with Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda in a nationwide campaign of public awareness on the criminality aspect of trading in human body parts as well the myth behind the whole façade that targeted people with albinism.

She pointed out that the government is committed to creating a level playing field by instituting an enabling and disability-friendly environment that will ensure equality reigns supreme in Tanzania.

The MP further commended organisations and other civil institutions dedicated to improving welfare of people with disability for supplementing government’s efforts in empowering them through provision of education and other social services.

I’m really delighted by your organisation, which has remained steadfast in fighting preventable blindness in the country, assisting people with vision impairment, and helping integrate those who have lost their eye sights within the society,” she said.

Addressing the same event, Country Director of Sightsavers Tanzania Dr Ibrahim Kabole said people with disability have had to bear untold suffering of various forms of discrimination and human rights violation at the hands of the very society in which they live alongside relatives, friends and colleagues.

Deliberate efforts are needed to ensure that people with disability are empowered in every way without necessarily being confined to dependence in order to create a just society where all people can live in harmony with one another,” Kabole stated.

He further pledged his organization’s commitment to provide services to people with visual impairment and outlined achievements over the past year during which they reached over 100,000 people with various forms of disability and helped restore ability to see to about 10,000 people who had lost their eye sights.

The event also marked 60 years of service by Sightsavers Tanzania in the country despite numerous challenges such as dwindling number of donors, which he attributed to the global economic crisis among others.

SOURCE: GUARDIAN ON SUNDAY
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