Zanu (PF) official, Rowdy “Papuchi” Mabaudhi, has blasted second Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko for the insensitive speech he made regarding able-bodied persons and vending recently.
Mphoko was quoted in media saying, “I have got my own views regarding vending where you find an able-bodied man seated selling tomatoes. There are better things to do for someone who I fit except for those who are indisposed and physically-challenged” while addressing Zanu PF supporters at provincial party headquarters at Davies Hall during his maiden “Meet the People” tour in Bulawayo.
Mphoko castigated the notion of self-help vending when he undermined the exercise which has become a last resort for survival for the escalating number of unemployed people in towns and cities.
“What VP Mphoko said is absolutely rubbish and a very undermining statement which should never come from a person of his rank or anyone for that matter,” said a fuming, Mabaudhi, also a special interest Councillor representing persons with Disabilities in the City of Harare and National Chairman of an Advisory Board to Minister of Youth on Empowerment of people with disabilities.
“I repeat its rubbish and for a VP its unacceptable. I demand a public apology; hence I am fighting for self representation for all people with disabilities. We want to know why he is undermining us, why he said that and I will not stand for this. We will take him on until we get explanations and that apology.
“It’s unfortunate he is already taking us for granted three months after his appointment to office but he is about to see that we are not stupid, we will fight anyone no matter what office you hold if u show no respect to a group of people you undermine because of their nature,” he said.
A prominent disabled activist who refused to be named fearing reprisals said, “I believe the disabled should start vending at Mphoko’s all Choppies shops. He is undermining us a lot. He must know there is nothing wrong with men selling tomatoes it’s an income generating project just like any vegetable shop only that it is small scale. Mphoko must wake up and instead support these men who are selling tomatoes into having their small scale businesses grow. This is one of the most stupid remarks coming from a donkey that is supposed to a national leader of a government that says it wants to support indigenous businesses,” he said.
A seething chairperson of Zimbabwean Migrants Disabled Rights Movement in South Africa, Brian Muziringa also condemned the statement made by Mphoko in referring laziness upon vendors selling tomatoes to disability.
“Mphoko’s remarks are subjection to degrading treatment that incites discrimination and persecution to the entirely physically challenged people. The minority on the peripheral, being denied the right to social services in our by the regime and corrupt government, upholding the rule of law,” he said.
VP Mphoko was not available for comment. Few months ago, during her “Meet the People” tour, First Lady Grace Mugabe was applauded by many after she came out guns blazing against law enforcers whom she ordered to stop harassing vendors a move that VP Mphoko appears to be against.
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