Parliament insensitive to plight of people with sight problems – MP

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PARLIAMENT’s failure to establish a Braille system is seriously hampering efforts to receive oral evidence from people living with sight problems, opposition lawmaker Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga has said.

Misihairambwi-Mushonga Thursday told the National Assembly that she has had to turn back someone with sight problems who has consistently showed up to give evidence before her committee because there is no Oath in Braille at Parliament.

“I rise on a matter of privilege. Last year in November, I raised a motion on privilege that spoke to the issue of people with disabilities that come to our hearings.

“In that instance, I was referring to a teacher who cannot see, who could not read our Oath and I raised it with the Speaker,” the Bulawayo Proportional Representation MP said.

She added that she had been promised by the secretariat at Parliament the issue would be addressed within a week of her request but until now, nothing has been done.

“I was told that in the following week the Oath that they read would be put into Braille. They are coming back on Monday. On that day, I had offered to get the Oath and go and do the Braille myself, but was told the Administration was going to work on it the following week but they have not.

“So, I am now requesting please, can I have a copy of the Oath so that I can go and organise the Braille because he is coming back on July 29, 2019 and I cannot keep on giving excuses,” said Misihairabwi-Mushonga.

“It is just three sentences, Madam Speaker, I think we should be sensitive to these issue…”

She was addressing Deputy Speaker Tsitsi Gezi who was standing in for Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda.

Gezi promised Misihairabwi-Mushonga that the matter was to be dealt with urgently.

“Your point of order is noted. We will instruct the public relations officer to do that as a matter of urgency,” Gezi said.