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Persons with albinism to get elected to Parliament

By John Odyek

Added 26th May 2019 07:52 AM

Parliament has passed the PWD Bill 2008 after heated debate which allows Persons with Albinisms (PWAs) to get a special seat in Parliament.

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Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga chats with Mirembe Elizabeth and Josseous Nayebare some of the leaders of the Albinism community (File Photo)

Parliament has passed the PWD Bill 2008 after heated debate which allows Persons with Albinisms (PWAs) to get a special seat in Parliament.

Samali Bukawe, the secretary Uganda Albinos Association has said they were very excited by the passing of the bill that will allow the election for a Person With Albinism (PWA) to get a seat in Parliament.
“We are very happy. It will bring justice to the people with albinism; it will remove discrimination and protect us. We are looking forward to the law being implemented,” Bukawe told the New Vision over the weekend.
Parliament has passed the PWD Bill 2008 after heated debate which allows Persons with Albinisms (PWAs) to get a special seat in Parliament. They have been categorised as Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) giving them the ticket to present contestants for a seat in Parliament.
PWDs elect five MPs that have included persons with various disabilities but now for the first time have included PWAs. The election will take place in forth coming general elections in 2021.
Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi the state minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development hailed the passing of the bill saying it would ensure there was justice, equitable distribution of services and enhance the participation of PWDs in Uganda.
Kiyingi said the bill would see that PWAs get some services free of charge from Mulago Hospital such as lotions, sun screens to protect their skin from sunshine. “All the PWDs including PWAs will get some services such as assistive devices, kits free of charge,” Kiyingi said.
The Bill lists the disability categories as follows: Sensory disabilities which include the deaf with speech, deaf without speech, deaf blind, hard of hearing, total blindness, low vision (nose readers). The persons with physical disabilities comprise of persons with amputations of one arm, both arms, one leg and both legs.
Another category are persons with deformities of the lower limb, upper limbs, shoulders, forearms and hand, club feet, spina bifida, spinal cord injuries, rheumatism and little persons. The final category is that of albinism.
Alex Ndeezi, chairperson of the committee on gender, labour and social development expressed displeasure with some members of the public calling persons who cannot speak as dumb.
“I have a problem with the word dumb. When you say someone is dumb it means they have no brains. People who can’t speak are deaf but they can communicate using sign language. I have never met a person who cannot speak but cannot communicate, they can make sounds,” Ndeezi said.
The Bill that awaits assent by President Yoweri Museveni seeks to provide for the respect and promotion of the rights and freedoms of the persons with disabilities. Article 32 of The Constitution provides that State shall take affirmative action in favour of groups marginalized on the basis of gender, age, disability or any other reason created by history, tradition or custom, for the purpose of redressing imbalances which exist against them.
The Bill spells out the rights of PWDs to enjoy family life where children with disability are not separated from their families unlawfully. The Bill seeks to protect a person with disability from any form of torture, cruel or degrading treatment and discrimination in health, education, sports, culture, employment and transport services.
A person who discriminates against PWDs commits an offence and is on conviction liable to a fine not exceeding sh300,000 or a term of imprisonment not exceeding three months or both.
 The Bill wants public buildings to be accessible by PWDs, TVs, websites and telecom companies to provide required services for PWDs. The Bill also requires the minister for health to ensure that sign language and tactile is included in the curricular for medical personnel.
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