Chakwera calls for inclusivity towards persons with disabilities

Dec 3, 2022

I direct Minister of Trade and Industry to ensure that the Malawi Bureau of Standards finalizes the Malawi Standards on accessibility and usability of the build environment and ensure enforcement of the same.

By Kondanani Chilimunthaka

President Lazarus Chakwera has issued directives to four Ministries to implement so that persons with disabilities are fully involved and included in the affairs of the national development and access to social experiences.

He was speaking on Saturday, December 3,2022 at Masintha ground in Lilongwe during the commemoration for this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities which falls on 3rd December every year.

“I direct Minister of Trade and Industry to ensure that the Malawi Bureau of Standards finalizes the Malawi Standards on accessibility and usability of the build environment and ensure enforcement of the same. I direct the Minister of Transport and Public Works to ensure that the National Construction Industry Council in line with its regulations reviews the processes of awarding contracts so that contractors satisfy accessibility requirements in conformity with the Malawi accessibility standards before awarding a contract and before commencement of any construction project of public interest. I direct the Ministry of Local Government to see to it that all projects under Cities, Councils and Municipalities meet the minimum accessibility requirements and that persons with disabilities are represented in decision making processes involving approvals of construction projects in these respective Cities, Councils, and Municipalities. I direct the Ministry of Justice to review the Disability Act of 2012 and identify gaps that must be closed to make the law stronger and more progressive framework for the protection of the rights for persons with disabilities.” Directed President Chakwera while saying such policies will be operational starting from 2023.

In his speech, President Chakwera told the nation that his government is working towards curing various levels of poverty by facilitation of opportunities for wealth creation through development of industries and economies that give citizens a reliable source of income and livelihood, adding that it is also working hard to end poverty through subsidy programs that ensure the citizens can access and afford to necessities of food, housing, safety, education, and healthcare, and that his administration is again doing deployment of social protection programs to cushion the most vulnerable and poorest in the society.

Added Chakwera; “As Africans in general and Malawi in particular, we can not claim to be a wealth nation if our people are deprived of, or denied access to experiences that will enrich their lives with sense of meaning and belonging. We can not claim to be inclusively wealth if persons with disabilities are deprived of, or denied access to social experiences that would enrich them.”

Further, President Chakwera told the gathering at Masintha ground that time has come for Malawi to think beyond material and monetary parameters by involving creation of a society in which wealth of enriching social experiences is accessible to all citizens including those with disabilities so that they are self-reliant in line with Malawi vision 2063.

Speaking before President Chakwera, Minister of Gender, Patricia Kaliati commended Malawi leader for his commitment towards addressing problems faced by persons with disabilities, and also for women empowerment through their inclusion at various senior positions in his administration and government departments.

This year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities has been commemorated under the theme “Transformative solutions and inclusive development, the role of innovation in fueling an accessible and equitable world.”

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