PLWDs decry lack of access to buildings

The president of the National Council of Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), Gaston Rusiha, has called upon the government and other stakeholders to ensure that the disabled are able to access buildings, especially storied complexes. “There is an order from the Ministry of Infrastructure that was gazetted in 2009, determining the modalities of constructing various public buildings to ease access of persons with disabilities,” Rusiha said.
Modern buildings such as these are required to have special access for people with disabilities. (File photo)
Modern buildings such as these are required to have special access for people with disabilities. (File photo)

The president of the National Council of Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), Gaston Rusiha, has called upon the government and other stakeholders to ensure that the disabled are able to access buildings, especially storied complexes.

“There is an order from the Ministry of Infrastructure that was gazetted in 2009, determining the modalities of constructing various public buildings to ease access of persons with disabilities,” Rusiha said.

He said that the law in most cases is not respected, calling for concerned organs, especially the Infrastructure ministry to follow up and ensure that the law is respected.

Specifically, Rusiha said that article 3 of the ministerial order says that all buildings, either publicly or privately owned, should be equipped with the necessary facilities to enable persons with disabilities to have access to services offered there in.

Article 4 of the decree indicates that all buildings offering services must provide special parking space for vehicles belonging to persons with disabilities whether motorised or non-motorised.

The same article states that parking space for persons with disabilities should be designated near the main entrance to the facilities, so that PLWAs may be easily assisted in case of danger.

He added that most of the buildings especially around Kigali City do not abide by this legislation.

He called upon the government to set a certain deadline for owners of old buildings which offer public services to modify them so as to enable people with disabilities to have easy access so that they are not denied services offered within them.

In an interview yesterday, the Director of Urban Planning at the City of Kigali Lillian Mupende, said that currently, they necessitate people with construction projects to provide all the necessary passage ways and parking space for persons with disabilities. 

Mupende doubles as the head the One Stop Centre at Kigali City, which is in charge of awarding construction permits to property developers in the city.
 
“The issue of PLWDs is very sensitive and it’s now among the requirements. When people submit their construction projects at the centre, we have even asked several people to revise their construction projects which did not have these provisions the time they were built,” Mupende said.  

She added that even simple construction projects like churches and schools have been asked to consider providing walking and parking space for people with disabilities across Kigali City.

 “My opinion is that all people, mainly investors, should feel concerned because when a building has no passage ways for PLWDs, it automatically discriminates them from getting the services offered there,” said Drosera Mugeni, a resident of Kimironko sector in Gasabo District.

Jean Claude Karangwa, a resident of Nyarugenge District living with disability, says that owners of buildings that do not abide by such requirements should have their facilities closed.

“I think it’s imperative for government to close down buildings without these provisions because most of their owners around the city are reluctant,” Karangwa stressed.

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