NUP leaders with PWDs on Saturday as they commemorated the International Day for Persons with Disabilities at the party headquarters in Kamwokya. PHOTO | MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI
By Peter Sserugo
The president of National Unity Platform (NUP) has urged government to ensure that the people with disabilities (PWDs) are part of all government sectors like any other people instead of treating them like a minority group in society.
During the commemoration of the International Day for People with Disabilities at the party headquarters on Saturday, the NUP president, Mr Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, said it is government’s obligation to ensure that PWDs enjoy their rights like any other Ugandan.
“PWDs don’t need special needs as many referred to it, they only need their rights. We need to exercise equity to ensure that these people are not left out. These are Ugandans like any other. Let us ensure that they are part of the decisions made in every government sector,” Mr Kyagulanyi said.
“It not about making laws. The laws were made long time ago, they only need implementation. Let it be enforced that all public and other places have provisions for people with disabilities such as reserved parking and ramps because some cannot use stairs, toilets and all other facilities as it is to other people,” he added.
The International day for PWDs is marked every December 3 and this year’s commemorations were marked under the theme; ‘Leadership and mindset change: A tool for inclusive development’. According to Uganda Bureau of Statistics Census report of 2016, at least 4.5 million Ugandans are PWDs. Mr Kyagulanyi also encouraged parents with children with disabilities to consider them as children with full capacity.
“Parents, I urge you not to hide your children but help them to realise their full potentials. Many PWDs are award winners in various sports activities and we have seen great athletes, artists and swimmers, among others. These have changed the stories in their families,” Mr Kyagulanyi said.
He added: “However, a lot would be achieved if the government was able to recognise the needs of PWDs. But it is unfortunate that even schools like Shimon Demonstration School that had provisions for PWDs were demolished by the government. When you visit most of the government schools, they lack standard facilities to cater for PWDs.”
Speaking at the same ceremony, the NUP secretary general, Mr Lewis Rubongoya, asked PWDs to rise and advocate for their rights.
“PWDs, I want to encourage you not to sit on yourselves. The only way you can be included is by including yourself and this can only be achieved by rising to the occasion and be part of the decision-making, leadership and policy making. Stop presenting yourselves as vulnerable,” Mr Rubongoya said.
This year’s national celebration was held in Kole District and it was graced by the Vice President, Ms Jesca Alupo. At NUP headquarters, at least 50 PWDs showed up to commemorate the day. Out of these, 10 of them were made PWDs during the 2021 presidential campaign trails. Among the PWDs were Makerere student, Mr Richard Ssebuganda, whose hand was injured by a teargas canister during February 5 Makerere riots. There was also an artiste who has low vision, Mr Kennedy Muwanguzi.
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