Dowa district disability representative to the council, Thomas Gerevazio, has accused all those who took part in the formulation of Unified Beneficiary Register (UBR) in the district of sidelining persons with disabilities.
Gerevazio made the accusation following the outcry by persons with disabilities in most of the government programmes which gives free food and other items to vulnerable households in the district.
He said unlike the previous years when there was a deliberate identification of them as beneficiaries, the UBR does not look at their physical disabilities but taking them as equal to those who are able labelling them as all vulnerable.
Speaking in an interview, Gerevazio said the UBR is trusted by those who are better off than persons with disabilities because most of them cannot manage to move for the UBR to understand their disability status.
He asked the authorities not to mix up names of persons with disabilities with those who are able in the UBR for them to benefit from whatever government is providing to the vulnerable households for free.
Assistant District Agricultural Development Officer (DADO) for Dowa, Selina Malaga, said the issue raised by persons with disabilities is beyond their office’s control saying her office only works following instructions given by the authorities from above.
Malaga said in the UBR, those who have benefited from one program will pave way to another group to benefit as well, so too, persons with disabilities.
In his remarks, District Commissioner for Dowa Alex Mdooko asked the beneficiaries to accept policy changes as they come to them giving an example of this year’s FISP where beneficiaries were producing valid identify cards to claim for the coupons.
Mdooko dismissed claims that the UBR is sidelining persons with disabilities in the district saying what is happening in Dowa is similar to all other districts across the country.
At one of the previous District executive council committee meeting, community Rehabilitation Officer for MACOHA in Dowa, Billy Maupa, asked the authorities to put a deliberate percentage of persons with disabilities to benefit from all the programs which are being implemented in the district.
Maupa expressed concern that in most of the local structures, Village and Area Development Committees, there’s no representation of persons with disabilities a development which makes them feel that they are being sidelined in the society in which they are living.