Persons with disabilities have asked the Mzuzu City Council and other related authorities to consider in their development projects and other activities, the welfare of persons with disabilities, so that they, too, benefit optimally from services provided to the citizens.
The call was made by Chairlady of Tionerepo Radio Listening Club, Joyce Sichali, who also represents the interests of persons with disabilities in Mzuzu City.
Sichali, whose radio listening club is a product of the National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE), explained that many markets in the city were not disability friendly, yet there were many persons with disabilities who were operating their businesses or entering the markets to buy various needs.
Sichali cited the Mzuzu Flea Market, which she said did not have rumps that would make it easy for persons with disabilities to access and instead, it has steps which are dangerous for those with walking challenges as well as the blind.
“As a chair who represents the disabled, i get concerned when the city council fails to provide services well. That is why after NICE trained us on how we can claim our rights and at the same time take an active role in development activities, we have been having meetings with the Mayor for Mzuzu City Council to include in their plans for 2020, the welfare of persons with disabilities and he has assured us of consideration,” she said.
“Disability is not inability. All those in positions of authority should know that and therefore include us in their plans,” she added.
Mzuzu Urban Vendors Association Chair, James Kasambara, said his association works will continue engaging the city council authorities to ensure that the expectations of both vendors and their customers are met at the city’s market facilities.
The National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) has been implementing its Strengthening Local Governance for improved service delivery through civic innovations and
crowd sourcing with funding from Tilitonse Foundation, between March 2019 and February 2020, with the aim of empowering citizens in the country to take an active role in activities that affect them, including development projects and decision making processes.
The project also aimed at strengthening the capacity of citizens to demand accountability from duty bearers on why particular developments are being implemented and how they are implemented, and service providers on delivery of services. These keep those in elected office and public service providers on their toes to win the trust and support of the citizens.