13 04 2008

The disabled demand recognition in new order

Story by Caroline Wafula
Publication Date: 4/13/2008 


Sunday Nation Online


People with disabilities are calling for the creation of a department under the Office of the President or Prime Minister to address their issues.

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) commissioner  Lawrence Mute said there was need for such an office to deal with issues of persons with disabilities.

This, he said, would give people with disability visibility, resources and political goodwill. It would also enhance monitoring and reporting across government ministries and departments. The disabled  also want a special advisor appointed to guide the government on disability issues. They further demand appointments to key positions in the grand coalition government.

“As Kenyans with disabilities, we have for far too long been forced to remain on the periphery of this country’s policy and legislation making processes,” said Samuel Kabue of the Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (Edan).

“Even where policy or legislation has recognised our needs, its implementation has been patchy and half-hearted,” he added. Mr Kabue said the marginalisation of the disabled encouraged the society to heighten discrimination against them in the family, education and work.

The Persons with Disabilities Act, 2003, has been in place for almost five years, with little progress in  implementation.

Timothy Wanyonyi of the Kenya Paraplegic Organisation asked the grand coalition government to fulfill election promises to ensure the rights and development needs of the disabled were addressed. They urged the government to finalise the review of the constitution in one year.

The group noted that the Bomas draft captured a lot of their concerns and desires, particularly to the extent that it included specific articles on their rights.

The new review process, they said, must ensure that the Bomas gains are retained and other provisions included to ensure that they have effective representation in national and local governance structures.




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