Fedoma angered with Malawi gov’t delays to gazette disability Bill

Federation for Disability Organization in Malawi (Fedoma) is not amused by government tactics not to gazette the disability Bill and has since pleaded for speedy gazetting of the disability bill which was passed by parliament in May last year.

Fedoma observes that further delay to the process is tantamount to continued victimization of people with disabilities.

Fedoma Executive Director, Mussa Chiwaula told Malawi News Agency on Wednesday that ever since Malawi Parliament nodded to the enactment of the legislation, people living with disabilities have been waiting with hope for a change in their welfare but this has not been the case as the Bill has now clocked almost a year without gazetting.

“Nothing has so far been done in terms of implementing the provisions that are contained in the Act. But we are lobbing authorities for a speedy gazetting of the Bill so that it is becomes operational,” Chiwaula said.

Fedoma boss Mussa Chiwaula
Fedoma boss Mussa Chiwaula

He said the institution has so far engaged the Ministry of Persons with Disabilities and the Elderly, the Malawi Human Rights Commission and is currently talking to the Ministry of Justice so that there is expeditious enactment of the Bill.

“We feel the disability Bill should be given priority much as we are aware that there are many other acts that need gazetting because ours is touching on people’s lives and rights.

“We see so many buildings that are being constructed but do not conform to standards” said Chiwaula.

The Bill took almost eight years before being tabled in parliament.

Asked whether the situation on the ground was ready for the implementation of the Bill, Chiwaula said though there is still some work to be done, the enactment of the act is paramount.

Apart from the Bill, he said there is need for Malawi to repeal the Handicapped Person’s Act which Malawi Council for the Handicapped (Macoha) has been operating on since its inception in 1971 but is currently outdated.

Disclosed Chiwaula: “The Act was made at a time when disability was viewed as a charity and not a rights issue. To streamline it to the new law, it needs to be repealed and replaced with a new legislation.”

He also observed that National Policy on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities which came into effect in 2006 needs to be reviewed so that it is in tandem with the new Act.

Efforts to talk to the Malawi Law Commission and Ministry of Disability and the Elderly proved futile on multiple attempt, however, when contacted for an input, Ministry of Justice chief legislative council, Fiona Lakemba asked for a questionnaire to which she did not respond.

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