Dylan Munashe Dzenga-Youth Interactive Writer
In the history of student activism and politics in Zimbabwe, there is no record of a student living with a disability contesting in the yearly Student Representative Council (SRC) elections, but for the University of Zimbabwe, the year 2022 carries a different narrative.
Elisha Gumbo has managed to defy all odds and qualify to contest in the upcoming UZ SRC elections that are going to be conducted on the 1st of July this year.
When he was 13 years-old, Gumbo came into contact with fallen electricity cables while coming from school. He tripped and fell on them, resulting in him being electrocuted.
“Although the general populace is doing all they can in policy implementation to represent students living with disabilities, I firmly believe a lot more can be done if there is a representative of the same group,” says Gumbo.
The 24-year-old is a law student who has always desired to change the lives of students living with disabilities all over Zimbabwe which is the reason that inspired him to start the Students with Disabilities Association of Zimbabwe in January this year.
Gumbo is contesting for the position of secretary general in the upcoming elections.
Gumbo says it is not going to be an easy journey considering all the stereotypes and pessimistic chants that some students who are insensitive to condition.
“For some people, they say I want to use my disability as an advantage to have power, but that is not the case.
“I want to contest in a free and fair election and win this in an ethical manner, I believe disability is not inability, hence I should not limit myself because of who I am and how others see me,” said Gumbo
For a while, students with disabilities at the university have only been appointed a representative in the SRA which is the second board of student leaders from the SRC in which they only vote for the individual by themselves.
“We are really looking forward to this upcoming election and higher positions in the SRC as well like the secretary general so as to represent the students’ fraternity at large and not just those with disabilities only as inclusivity is the main goal,” says Joyce Kwaririma, the outgoing SRA for the students with disabilities.
Kwaririma was the first female student to lead the Disability Support Services at the university since last year’s election and has progressed gracefully in representing the students.
Student politics has always been the start of careers for young people who are interested in politics and for students with disabilities.
Gumbois starting a new era in politics of the country in general.