The missing 11 opportunities in 2020 for disabled Kenyans Author Mugambi Paul

Background:

Tribalism and Gender come up frequently in both social media and mainstream media discussions in Kenya.

But what about disability?
It’s a known fact that The largest minority group in Kenya constitute about 7 million.
but despite that huge number, many disabled people face challenges reaching their full potential in social, economic, cultural and political spheres.
How do we break the chains?
as a public policy scholar and being blind I would like to author the missed opportunity of the Kenyan disability movement.
This is to say I highly understand the barriers that disabled Kenyans face in sea, land and air.
This is coupled with inadequate policy and legislation execution.
I opine that three quarters of the disabled Kenyans are poor, and this is catastrophic
This problem cannot be address with the normalcy which is currently perpetuated by the current disability movement
We have to adapt new way of thinking and be ready to make the systems work for persons with disabilities.
Miss opportunities:

1. The treasury normally conducts public budget engagement every year both at national and county levels: the disability movement could have presented their own version of budget which could have been adopted by the budget committee.
2. BBI committee: the disability movement could have advocated for representation in the BBI task force team.
3. Housing agenda: the Kenyan disability movement could have demanded 15 % of the new housing schemes should be fully accessible.
4. Opportunity at the national employment authority: the Kenyan disability movement could have demanded a robust plan and execution of disability employment services targeting disabled persons.
5. Accessible toilets: the Kenyan disability movement could have emphasized at list enforcement of usage of accessible toilets in most government and private entities instead of the toilets being used us storage facilities.
6. Accessible bank notes: the Kenyan disability could have demanded the central bank to issue accessible bank notes instead of allowing the president to cheat the Blind persons like me as evidenced in June 1st, 2018.
7.
Organizational culture: the Kenyan disability movement should mirror itself and see if it’s being an enabler of inclusion or it’s a talk show entity.
This is to say Beyond just bringing diverse disabled people together, persistent initiatives, specific behaviours, and intentional practices that support inclusion are needed for tapping and invigorating the potential of diversity and for leading to disability inclusive organisational cultures.
Thus, having proper leadership commitment, accountability, and contextualization.
8. utilization of online and live streaming services during workshops and conferences: at this era of digitalization and the faster collection of both true and fake news the Kenyan disability movement could have had robust plans of ensuring combining the old way of board room meetings with technology in order to collect diverse views and opinions.
9. Identity registration: the Kenyan disability movement could collaborate with the interior ministry of the super CS Mating’I and ensure the disabled get the disabled card much faster just like the planned Identity card and passport issuance.
10. Bodaboda transport: 80 percent of disabled Kenyans are mostly likely to use bodaboda for accessing public places but the Knyan disability movement went mum as the interior ministry developed regulations. Obviously the bodaboda reforms will have adverse effects on the wanjikus with disabilities.
11. Secondary school transition: the Kenyan disability movement could have joined the ministry of education and campaigned for grater transition of learners with disabilities. Moreover, the disability movement could have pushed for the ministry to fund all student with disabilities joining form one.
Could the 4.811 students be learners with disabilities?
The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.
Mugambi Paul is a public policy, diversity, inclusion and sustainability expert.

Why the disabled in Kenya should stop reading lamentation Author Mugambi Paul.

Generally speaking, Kenya is facing deteriorating standards an alarming trend and of service delivery to persons with disabilities.
Of course, Recently, there has been lots of reports of rights violations of disabled and more so among girls and women with disabilities. Some of the atrocities have ranged from rape, inflicting gross bodily harm, to murder.
Noticeably, Disabled persons organizations and social media users have broadcasted the information.
What next?
Another example is a case of
a lady 20 years, made National News after she gave birth at Uhuru Park. The previous night having been kicked out of her lodging in Muthurwa for failing to pay half US dollar. She could not even afford a tenth of a US dollar to use a public toilet when she resorted to be at the park and there, she had her baby. All heathy as the dailies in Kenya reported.
How did we find ourselves here?
For how long shall we have the broken system in place?
Disability policy makers should have an ardent call to adjust their belts and raise the alarm.
This is by fastening the legislative agenda and pushing for real implementation and oversight of the current laws.
Additionally, in our pursuit to champion for the rights and equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities, ensuring their safety in the society
must always take predominate position.
This is well articulated in the ]UNCRPD 2006[which Kenya has signed and ratified.
Historically, I can vividly remember the great promises that successive governments have made since I was newcomer in the movement. Thus far we are still advocating for the same. For instance, we were told in the early 2000 inaccessible of buildings will be a thing of the past.
Yet many infrastructure projects still do not observe the standards even after the gazettement 2015.
theoretically speaking Kenya has great policies but poor implementation.
This is not to say attempts have not been done to save the situation.

However, it seems the government and the disability policy makers are still engaging in pull and push game.
Why aren’t we represented in the building bridge initiative?
Why aren’t we represented at the independent election and boundaries commission?
This clearly shows the low expectation exhibited by policy makers on the capacities of disabled persons.
Its high time the disabled persons enjoy the national cake not just to take the crumps
Should the disability policy makers change tact?
I observe that during 2018 global London summit Kenya marketed itself as a leader on disability mainstreaming and inclusion.
Nevertheless, the top brass leadership din’t take the lead like the UK counterpart.

Observers expected the Kenyan presidency to take the lead.
It is imperative that the disabled persons and policy stakeholders stands firm and retrieve the lost glory and dreams of the founders of the disability movement in Kenya.
In most developed nations there is a cabinet secretary assigned to handle the exclusively the disability docket.
The latest entrant is Australia.
Where the Liberal MP Stuart Robert will enter cabinet as the minister for the NDIS after the scheme was taken out of the social services portfolio.

Should the disability sector be moved to the presidency?
The jury is out there.
Should the policy makers become innovative and engage more disabled persons?

Apparently, the lack of factual information among the disabled population leads to misinformation and low demand of actual rights.
Furthermore, most decision makers are based in the Nairobi city thus lack of involvement of the rural disability sector.
Most Kenyan policy makers use top bottom approach in decision making.
Moreover, the lack of economic resource has made disabled persons to be vulnerable.
Thus, often taken advantage of.
This is by either accepting to receive poor services or suffer in silence.
Its high time disabled persons in Kenya stopped lamentation.
The focus should be on self-advocacy and knowing the rights.
As individuals and institutions, we all are aware of the barrier’s persons with disabilities face.
They include lack of support systems in place. Poor resourced government services. Lack of representation in the workforce, private sector, low literacy rates among disabled persons,
Inaccessible building and infrastructure.
Lastly,
Low legislative agendas among parliamentarians with disabilities. Etc.
Kenya is arguably, the most unequal society.
According to world bank report 2018 43.6 of persons in Kenya live below the poverty line.
Obviously, disabled persons are triple affected.
It is high time we restored dignity and decency among disabled persons.
One way is by adopting universal basic income to all persons with disabilities.
This will promote economic independence among the largest minority group in Kenya.
This is because it will be a game changer by restoration of dignity on lives of disabled persons.
instead of the current cash transfer system which targets a few individuals with severe disabilities.
As a scholar I believe Inclusion of people with disabilities creates a strong economy by enabling a diverse community contribution which drives future growth.
Why do we have well written policies with poor implementations?
This can happen when disabled persons realize that it’s not the disabled leaders who are the problem.
The problem is individual disabled persons who doesn’t want to take responsibility of self-advocacy and engaging in systematic advocacy.
Of course, This is what the disability leadership has taken advantage of.
The disability leadership knows that the true liberation of disabled community will happen when many more self-advocates have taken their positions
Meanwhile the disabled persons organizations have to live to the promise of transparency and accountability in order to be the real watchdog of government institutions serving persons with disabilities.
This agenda should start among the disabled persons organization membership and structures.
Additionally, the legislators with disabilities have to change by living to the call of being leaders.
Being a leader calls for constant interaction with the disabled people. Listening to the citizens forms the basis of representation and legislation.
This will aid the parliamentarians to lobby and advocate for economically viable legislations to reduce the economic inequalities experienced by 99 % of the disability population in Kenya.
Together we can create new opportunities for inclusive economic growth with benefits for everyone in the community, as well as the person with disability, who may become a customer, client, employee, student, team member or holidaymaker at your organisation, sports club, business, shop, restaurant or rental property.

The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.
Mugambi Paul is a public policy and diversity and inclusion expert.