CHAWATA gears for entitlement and due respect to people with disabilities

Members of the Disabled Association of Tanzania, (CHAWATA), in Dar es Salaam have articulated their concerns on clauses they regard as ‘not well featured’ in the new constitution draft. 

This transpired during a constitution forum organized by CHAWATA in late August through the funding from the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS).

However, the constitution forum was dominated by a fairly respectful, pioneering, and self-governing atmosphere such that each delegate was accorded an opportunity to make judicious suggestions.

With regard to union matters, the most critical issues that came on the spotlight included the concern that there should be two Prime Ministers - one for the isles and the other for the mainland. Also instead of the term ‘Tanzania mainland’ the special group said the constitution should omit that terminology in the draft document and instead replace it with “the government of Tanganyika”, because there already exists the revolutionary government of Zanzibar. 

Issues that attracted much attention and hence extended discussion - were those which directly touch on education matters, the Union and equal/free access to education and health care among people with disabilities. They also wanted the new constitution to state openly on the equality to employment/without discrimination to people with disabilities as laid down by International Labour Conventions.

Generally, among other issues, participants of the forum proposed: Article 4 (3)– to be replaced by a phrase that reads ‘for people with disabilities’. Articles 7 (2) (1) h; 11 (3) (a) (i) and (b) (ii) need to have the phrase “people with disabilities”. Article 11 (3) (c) (i) together with Article 11 (3) (c) (x) should bear the phrases “to ensure that people with disabilities are granted subsidies or grants and also the phrase “there should be a friendly environment for people with disabilities” respectively at all public or private institutions where education is being provided. 

With regard to Article 44 (1) (g) the forum also wanted an additional phrase “the government should contribute 60 per cent for the cost of all paraphernalia for people with disabilities”.

Moreover, while closing the conference, guest of honour Ms. Flora Masue, Ilala district Social welfare Officer urged participants to share whatever skills, knowledge and experience that they have acquired at the forum to strengthen their alliance of people with disabilities especially at this crucial era of new constitution making process.

Hamidu Hamisi, an Official of CHAWATA Dar es Salaam region said that the conference experienced no critical challenges; and every participant got the chance to comment on the draft constitution.

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