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Deaf man sues ZCAS for discrimination

GRACE CHAILE-LESOETSA writes

@SunZambian

A DEAF man has petitioned the Lusaka High Court alleging that ZCAS University has refused to enroll him for a computer oriented course because of his disability.

Mr Kasongo Wilson Kafwembe has cited the ZCAS University Limited and the Attorney General as respondents in the Matter.

The Petitioner who is  employed as a Web Chat Agent in the call Center at National Pensions Scheme Authority (NAPSA)  wants the Court’s declaration that ZCAS University Limited refusal to issue the programme of Computer Network Repair to facilitate consideration of his application was discriminatory and in breach of Article 23  (2) and (3) of the Constitution Cap 1.

He wants a declaration that the Attorney General‘s failure to promulgate rules, issue guidelines and put in place measures to ensure non-discrimination of the petitioner in enrolment in higher education cases as mandatory enjoined by section 22 of the persons with disabilities  Act no. 6 of 2012 is not only violative of the said Act but is also ultra vires Article 23 (2) and (3) of the Constitution Cap 1 of the laws.

Mr Kafwembe  wants the Court to order that he be availed application forms for entrance into the said programme and the said application be fairly processed for consideration for admission into the programme.

He also wants the Court to declare that the attorney general’s failure to promulgate Rules, issue guidelines and put in place  measures to ensure non-discriminatory of the petitioner in enrollment in higher  education course as mandatorily enjoined by section 22 of the  Persons with Disabilities Act No 6 of 2012  of the Laws of Zambia.

He wants the court to order the defendants to pay him damages, interest and costs of or incidental to the petition

Mr Kafwembe of Lusaka ‘s Woodlands residential area  has stated in his petition filed into the Lusaka High Court that on November 9, 2020, he visited the University with a view to collect application form in order to apply for enrolment in the degree programme of Computer Network Repair .

He claims the university’s servants or agents tasked with issuing out application form refused to issue out the said application forms to the petitioner on account of the fact that he was deaf.

Mr Kafwembe stated that   consequent to the foregoing, he sought the intervention of the Vice chancellor of the University where he was attended to by his executive assistant, Ireen Nkhoma who undertook to secure an appointment for him with the Vice Chancellor in order to resolve the issue.

“ On or about 11th November 2021 the aforesaid executive assistance , acting for and on behalf of  the Vice Chancellor  of the first respondent ,  sent an electronic mail to the petitioner indicating that he could not  be enrolled in the 1st respondent  institution because  it did not have  facilities to cater for deaf students,” he stated.

Mr Kafwembe stated that ZCAS was the only university currently offering the degree.

He stated that he already have the  fundamental basis to position  him to undertake the subject  degree programme  having attained a  diploma in computer studies  from ZIBSIP  College  after a three (3 )  year course of study which he undertook  without difficulty.

He stated that Zambia was a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of persons with disabilities (UNCHRPD) whose State Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to education which right is to be realised without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity.

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