The Malawi Union of the Blind (MUB) has demanded a retraction of a Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) statement that the new banknotes can easily be identified by visually impaired persons.
MUB executive director Ezekiel Kumwenda told a news conference in Blantyre on Friday that visually impaired persons feel betrayed by RBM because their concerns were not taken on board when coming up with the new bank notes.
Said Kumwenda: â€œAs an organisation of the blind, we shall stand firm on behalf of visually impaired people in our demand that we have the same opportunity to independently determine what each banknote is without the need for assistance.
â€œWe have called for this press briefing for us to share with you our observations, concerns and recommendations with regard to the accessibility of the newly issued banknotes to visually impaired persons in the country.â€
RBM spokesperson Ralph Tseka on Friday said he could not comment on the issues raised by MUB because he was at the symposium in Mangochi attended by President Joyce Banda.
Kumwenda said contrary to the assertions by the central bank, the majority of visually impaired persons have expressed disappointment and frustration because they can hardly notice the quadrants on the bank notes using a sense of touch to identify the currency.
Kumwenda said the union is requesting RBM to involve concerned people, such as MUB, at an initial stage in identifying accessibility features for visually impaired persons.
MUB also said the civic education campaign being conducted by RBM should extend to the visually impaired once the concerned accessibility features have been considered and the union should be involved in the process.