2nd Republic commits to promoting rights of persons with disabilities

The Second Republic is committed to safeguarding, preserving and promoting the rights of persons with disability as well as diligently upholding its inclusion and inclusivity principles pursuant to the objective of leaving no one and no place behind, President Mnangagwa has said.

Under President Mnangagwa’s administration, persons with disability have continued to be empowered and given due recognition across all sectors of the economy as enunciated in the National Development Strategy 1.

Speaking at a meeting with the Zimbabwe Special Olympics team at State House yesterday, President Mnangagwa said under his leadership, differently abled people would continue being supported to realise their dreams.

He said the Second Republic would continue to see to it that Zimbabwe’s policies prioritise the establishment of favourable learning and living conditions for the disabled.

“You can all count on the support of the Second Republic to safeguard, preserve and promote the rights of persons with disabilities, including the intellectually challenged.

“The principle of inclusion and inclusivity is outlined in the National Development Strategy and we are leaving no one and no place behind. Additionally, national policies and programmes, in our education sector, continue to prioritise the provision of a conducive learning environment, special classes and health facilities to cater for disabled learners.

“To complement these efforts and ensure holistic development, sport, arts, culture and recreation, must be widened within schools,” he said.

The President said it was heartening to note that more children living with disability were engaging in sporting activities, something he said would inspire self confidence among them.

Continued participation in such activities, he said, would also assist in dealing with the drug and substance abuse menace.

“It is encouraging to note that more children, including those with intellectual disabilities, are taking part in sporting activities. 

“This will help instill self-confidence and higher levels of discipline, among our young people as well as reduce cases of substance and drug abuse,” he said.

President Mnangagwa said more tailor-made activities would be initiated for the benefit of differently abled people.

He added that international initiatives such as the World Disability Inclusion Day should be used to empower young people living with disabilities.

“Going forward, more tailor-made sport, recreation, arts and culture programmes should be implemented throughout the country taking advantage of existing structures at the community level.

“In addition, international programmes and activities such as the World Disability Inclusion Day, which was commemorated on December 3, must be utilised for the mainstreaming of inclusivity and broad-based empowerment as well as the identification and nurturing of talent among all our young people,” he said.

President Mnangagwa went on to congratulate the team that had scooped gold, silver and bronze medals at the 2023 World Olympics Summer Games held in Germany in June.

Those who scooped gold medals were given US$5 000, silver medals US$3 75 and bronze medals US$2 500 by the Second Republic.

“Today is a very special day as we celebrate your success and victories at the 2023 World Olympics Summer Games held in Germany.

“I remember that you also did very well during the Abu Dhabi 2019 Summer Games. Well done! Our country is very proud of you.

“I am informed that as a team you brought home the following medals in athletics, bocce and golf: 2 gold medals; 2 silver medals; and, 4 bronze medals,” he said.

“Makorokoto, Amhlophe. Congratulations.”

The President went on to commend those who continue championing the rights of disabled people in the country and beyond.

“It is also pleasing that one of our youth leaders, Barbara Njovo, was recognised as a Health Advocate. She was privileged to make a presentation to a meeting of the World Health Organisation held in Berlin in October this year.

“Her selection to represent the African region shows that Zimbabweans continue to do well, following in the footsteps of Nyasha Derera, who is known as a young global leader on disability inclusion. 

“In conclusion, I want to thank Special Olympics International for promoting the agenda of inclusivity, and for the support given to Special Olympics Zimbabwe which has allowed our young people to showcase the talent we are celebrating today,” he said.

The President also charged the Sports and Recreation Commission as well as other stakeholders to commence preparations for the next games to be held in Australia in 2027.

He also implored the private sector to be involved in such initiatives.

“I look forward to a bigger team and more medals coming from Team Zimbabwe Special Olympics at the next Special Olympics Games which will be held in Sydney, Australia in 2027.

“Riding on the success of this year’s Berlin Games, I, challenge the Sports and Recreation Commission as well as the Special Olympics Board to start working now towards the next games. I assure you of my Government’s support in this regard,” he said.

“I also appeal to the private sector and other stakeholders to partner with Special Olympics Zimbabwe in their quest to maintain our excellent podium performance on the national, regional and global stage,” he said.

Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture Minister Kirsty Coventry commended President Mnangagwa for his continued show of support to the disabled.

“We are very proud of the results that this team has brought back home for us.

“Your achievements have made your nation very proud and you have inspired many young people around the country,” she said.

Board Chairman of the Special Olympics Zimbabwe Senior Assistant Commissioner (Retired) Innocent Matibiri said the successes by the current crop was a testament of President Mnangagwa’s leaving no one and no place behind mantra.

“Zimbabwe was one of the 178 countries that participated and we were part of nearly 7 000 athletes,” he said.


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