MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has been hailed by deaf groups for providing sign language interpretation on stage during his latest rallies.
Chamisa, who addressed a bumper crowd at a rally held in Beitbridge last weekend, was flattered as having scored a historic first by having rallies that did not marginalise the deaf community.
Deaf Zimbabwe Trust (DFZ) said Chamisa’s move promoted the political inclusion of people living with disabilities in the country.
The organisation expressed its gratitude to Chamisa on its Twitter page where it recommended that President Emmerson Mnangagwa also start catering for a provision to offer sign language interpretation during his own political rallies in a move DFZ said was crucial for the inclusion of the deaf community in politics.
Chamisa started including persons with hearing impairment by having a sign language interpreter during the 19th MDC anniversary celebrations held in Harare last month.
Chamisa introduced the party’s sign language interpreter in a video that was posted on social media, a move that DFZ hailed as contributing towards a vibrant democracy.
“Political inclusion of deaf people is a critical facet of vibrant democratic pluralism. Thank you @nelsonchamisa and your party for providing a sign language interpreter in your events! We expect @ednangagwa and government to do the same,” the tweet read.
Last month the Trust poured scorn on the Primary and Secondary Education ministry for taking too long to develop a pro-disability education policy that will ensure the inclusivity of pupils living with disability in Zimbabwean schools.
DFZ director, Barbara Nyangairi, has been pushing that sign language be introduced in schools to ensure the inclusion of deaf pupils and those living with different disabilities in schools and in the country as a whole.
Despite the efforts made to reach out to government, Nyangairi said her organisation has not yet received a positive response.
“To date there has been no response to the issue, although there are indications that the policy is now on the agenda of the ministry. We are waiting to see the action. We keep asking and pursuing the policy,” she said.
DFZ is currently running a ‘sign your name challenge’ on its Twitter page in which different organisations have been engaged in teaching people sign language.
Along the same artery, Old Mutual Zimbabwe has also partnered with the organisation in training its customer-facing personnel to learn sign language as it is committed to leaving no one behind in all community sectors, including the deaf.