Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A forum that will advocate, empower, and promote the rights of disabled people has been launched.
Speaking during the launch of the Parliamentary Forum for Persons With Disabilities Parliament on Friday, Alex Ndeezi, the Chairperson of the Forum who doubles as the Member of Parliament representing People With Disabilities – PWDs for the Central Region said the Forum is open to all MPs with a special interest in social justice.
Ndeezi emphasized that the Forum seeks to influence legislation, policies, and programs geared toward promoting the well-being of Persons with Disabilities at all governance levels across the country.
Judith Peace Achan, the Nwoya District Woman Representative, also the Vice Chairperson of the forum revealed that other objectives of the forum include providing oversight and monitoring programs and projects related to disability action plans, and service delivery effectiveness.
Among other things, they seek to mobilize and encourage networking among the legislators to enhance resource allocation for programs and facilitate communication, dialogue, and cooperation with other organizations with similar objectives.
The creation of the Forum was initiated in 2019 during the 10th Parliament by disability rights activist, Safia Juuko Nalule, thenthe Central Region PWDs Representative. Nalule and others pushed for an amendment to the Commonwealth Parliament Association (CPA) constitution to create a special forum for PDWs.
Uganda’s push for the CPA’s constitution amendment resonated with a report of the Equal Opportunities Commission – EOC earlier in 2018 that unearthed glaring inequalities in the delivery of service for the PWDs in various sectors of the Government.
At the time, PWDs complained of a huge disconnect between them and their representatives in Parliament primarily because their representatives are elected through an electoral college process that is hampered by inadequate dissemination of the electoral laws and guidelines at national and local Government levels.
A 2016 census report by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics – UBOS indicated that 12.4% of the Ugandan population lives with some form of disability implying that approximately 4.5 million Ugandans are PWDs hence a development concern.