Disability Rights Watch has bemoaned the lack of inclusion of differently abled people in the distribution of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
Organization National Programs Coordinator Mr. Bruce Choma said the institution has observed the recent happenings where people with disabilities are unable to benefit form the Consistency Development Funds.
“The issue was raised with the Ministry of Local Government and the secretary there mentioned that they are reviewing the guidelines for the CDF,” he said.
Mr. Choma said there are specific issues that need to be addressed such as the practical challenges that are encountered when it comes to interacting with the application procedure and the application forms.
He said that CDF application forms and procedures are not designed in a way that allows people living with disabilities to access them especially the visually impaired.
He has since called upon the government to review the CDF guidelines and amend the local government Act to ensure that there is a deliberate inclusion of people with disabilities and their communities that approve CDF.
“For example, having 5% or 10% in each constituency being given to projects that deal specifically with people living with disabilities can be of help,” he said.
“There is need to make sure that the guidelines and awareness are made in such a away that they include people with disabilities as a specific target, otherwise they would remain as spectators while others are benefiting from CDF.”
Meanwhile, Kalingalinga Ward 36 Councillor Mr. Mukubesa Nyoni said as a member of the CDF committee, applications from members of the disability community are treated as special cases because that is what the guidelines stipulate.
Mr. Nyoni has since dispelled the allegations that most people living with disabilities are not having equal access to CDF.
“If that is happening then it is happening against CDF guidelines and maybe the people saying so just want to paint this process as not working or they are just reluctant in following the rules or requirements in acquiring CDF,” he said.
“If the allegations are true that there are certain people with disabilities that are unable to access the CDF then let those sitting in committees be held accountable provided there is proof showing that one was rejected or anything of the sort”.
Mr. Nyoni added that CDF has certain rules and requirements that one needs to follow such as presenting an acceptance letter, a Disability card and a National Registration Card (NRC) showing that one is under 35-years old.