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February 17, 2003

Get rid of selfish leaders — Mengi

From: IPP media, Tanzania - 17 Feb 2003

By Lwaga Mwambande, Morogoro

Persons with disabilities should get rid of selfish leaders in their associations in order to benefit from development programmes and assistance donated by various sponsors.
IPP Executive Chairman Reginald Mengi remarked on Sunday in Morogoro when hosting a luncheon for persons with disabilities at Mount Uluguru Hotel.
He said there were some leaders of associations who enriched themselves and did not care about ensuring that whatever they got reached the targeted group members.
“Some leaders want to eat first until their bellies are full. They steal funds for personal use when other members are starving. This is unacceptable,” he said.
He urged the leadership of the federation of associations of persons with disabilities (SHIVYAWATA) in Morogoro Region to clean up its ranks within three months for them to enjoy his support.
Mengi said the regional SHIVYAWATA smelt of selfishness, which must be replaced with collective responsibility and care of others first for them to gain confidence of supporters.
“I cannot say anything...if it is a loan or assistance, it will get lost. The leadership has put me off from making any commitment,” he said amid approval from the majority of persons with disabilities.
In their statement read by Samwel Mluge, the Morogoro Shivyawata, they complained of neglect by the government in terms of special credit funds compared to youths and women.
The persons with disabilities also complained that they were not being involved in HIV/AIDS awareness seminars and education.
Mengi donated 20m/- for HIV/AIDS education for persons with disabilities in the region this year through an NGO, Faraja Trust Fund. Mengi is also a Commissioner of the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS).
He appealed to persons with disabilities to take seriously protection against HIV infection by using all the three preventive measures advocated by the government, lest they got infected and their conditions worsened by AIDS.
“If you cannot abstain from sex or have a faithful partner, don’t feel shy to use condoms. This (HIV/AIDS) is a very serious war, if we are loose we shall perish and make Morogoro remain a land of forests,” he warned.
Mengi also criticized parents who hide their children with disabilities instead of taking them to school, saying it was an injustice, which should not be tolerated.
On education, Mengi challenged government leaders to ensure that all children with disabilities of school going age get enrolled just as other children and troublesome parents should be taken to task.
“There are some parents who hide their children with disabilities from schools,” he said.
He urged them to send such children to ordinary primary schools and special schools for the blind, deaf and dumb and for children who are mentally sick.
“Ensuring that all children who have reached the school going age are in schools should be one of the conditions to measure the quality of leadership,” he said.
Mengi threw a challenge to persons with disabilities to think how to use what they had rather than lamenting about the defective parts of their bodies.
He said there was one Japanese millionaire who was disabled, yet did not waste time to complain about what he did not have, but used his brain for development.
A Member of Parliament (Special Seats), Margaret Mkanga, thanked Mengi for his decision to organize lunch for persons with disabilities in Morogoro as he does in Dar es Salaam. She urged him to extend such generosity to other areas as well.

© 2003 IPP media