|Gurunhe and Chivhanga went and met the shop manager after the incident|
…as people call for boycott of shop over ‘discrimination’
TM Pick n Pay Masvingo manager Smart Chivhuna is ‘sorry’ for the incident which saw a woman with albinism being denied entry into the shop because a chemical sanitizer could not be used on her sensitive skin, TellZim has heard.
Agnes Gurunhe was barred from entering the shop by people manning the entrance and by till supervisor William Kokela who had insisted that she let them sanitize her hands first if she wanted to be allowed into the shop.
Gurunhe had requested that she be given water and soap to wash her hands instead of the chemical sanitizing fluid as her skin reacted badly to such substances.
TellZim tried without success to get Chivhuna’s comment, with his assistants saying he was out of office and had gone to hospital.
Repeated attempts to reach him on his cellphone failed as he did not pick the calls.
After the incident which happened towards midday yesterday, September 29, and reported soon after by TellZim, Disability Amalgamation Community Trust (DACT) chairperson Henry Chivhanga consulted lawyers before engaging Chivhuna.
“He expressed deep regrets over the issue and asked for forgiveness as he did not personally handle the case. He told us that he accepted full responsibility for what we consider a clear act of discrimination and insensitivity to the unique needs of a customer with a disability,” said Chivhanga, who was accompanied by Gurunhe after the meeting.
He said, his organisation will ask its lawyers to write to the national management of the grocer to demand a full apology and other guarantees that no incident of a similar nature happens in the future.
“We consider this issue to be an attack on the rights of all people with disabilities. We have a problem in this country because when rules are made, they are seldom made with us in mind,” said Chivhanga.
On her part, Gurunhe said she was disappointed but not entirely surprised by the mistreatment she got.
“It’s disappointing but not very much surprising. Things of this nature happen to us almost every day and most of the cases are not reported. What really could have been difficult in providing me with water to wash my hands given that I had fully explained myself?” said Gurunhe.
Many social media users who responded to the story on the TellZim Twitter handle have called for the people involved in the debacle to be fired, while others have called for a boycott of the shop.
“Boycott @tmpicknpay until they offer a trolley full apology. Nxa,” remarked @mrdesmonds.
“Eish! Zimbabwe showing our worst side instead of our beautiful best side. Couldn’t they get her soap and water,” remarked award winning novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga (@effie41209591)
“Shutdown #PicknPay,” said tafadzwa Makara (@tafymaka).