President Peter Mutharika has stressed the importance of including people with disability in various developments of the country.
Speaking during International Day of Persons with Disabilities at Luchenza community centre ground in Blantyre on Saturday, Mutharika said active inclusion of people with disabilities in various works can boost the country’s social-economic development. According to Mutharika, persons with disabilities are citizens who often work in their lives and national development but very often, their efforts, achievements, and impact go unnoticed.
“Everyone likes to be appreciated. We must celebrate persons with disabilities. This is the day set aside to celebrate the abilities of people with disabilities all over the world. “Here then is our opportunity to increase awareness and understanding of disability issues. This is our day to celebrate that persons with disabilities are active participants in development. This is the day we commit to promote the rights of persons with disabilities,” said Mutharika.
He later narrated a story of his sister who was born with disability and because of that Mutharika said he knows how it feels of being disabled.
“My elder sister could not walk and in those days, if you had a disability, you were seriously marginalised. Some people in my village kept whispering that my parents had done something wrong to bear a girl who could not walk. I know what it means to grow up with disability. And as some of you know, I have a grandson who has autism. Some of you have seen him. He can’t talk, and he will never talk,” he said.
The Malawi leader further warned all people who ill-treat people with disabilities that as he is leading the country such malpractices will not be entertained.
“I will not tolerate the behavior of hiding someone with disability in the house nor the atrocities against persons with Albinism. The law will take its course. As long as I lead this country, I will ensure that persons with disabilities deserve a decent, dignified and rewarding life. There shall be no time or place for discrimination against persons with disabilities.
“We commit to implement the Disability Act and its policy with the best of our intentions and efforts,” he said.
This year’s theme was “Achieving all the 17 goals for the future we want.”