Attention: The Minister of Gender, community development and social welfare, Hon Patricia Kaliati
I have decided not to talk much. Not to talk much about the person in a wheelchair.
I’ve decided with a contrite heart not to cry for help from the authorities to read between the lines…the lines to the story of the disabled who stay outside a supermarket waiting for assistance, or outside a house waiting for help with their wheelchair up the steps. Who stay outside a hall waiting for someone to let them in because they cannot do it on their own, or, once inside a shop, maneuver a wheelchair around tiny isles but can’t.
I have decided not to talk much about those who park in the handicap spot while people with a disability suffer trying to find a convenient parking space around town, or those who do find a spot but have to wheel themselves to a building as far as 50 metres away in the pouring rain.
I have decided not to talk much about security personnel that do not secure the available space for persons with disabilities.
I have decided not to talk much about media outlets that do not have programs about people with disabilities in an attempt to bring awareness and uplift spirits, but insist on only airing breaking news when something bad happens. I thought you were a mouthpiece for the masses.
I’ve decided not to talk much about public transporters importing vehicles with disability features only to modifying them by removing those facilities.
I’ve decided not to talk much about government institutions like schools and stadiums without ramps, libraries without informative books, hospitals without enough wheelchairs, or public buildings without restrooms accommodating the disabled.
I really don’t want to talk much about what those responsible would do about it if it were them in need of such services.
Just remember this; “lunga lunga nkubadwa”, anyone can be disabled at anytime.
What if one day you need easy access to the same house if you become disabled?
Let your eyes, as the Minister responsible, judge. Let your loving umunthu shake you up and see how as a country we are discriminatory to people with disabilities.
We have suffered in silence for far too long.
I could have talked much but I’ve decided not to. Those who have eyes will see, and those who have hearts will feel.
Andida Mando (paraplegic)