Over the years the Kenyan disabled haven’t got enough opportunities in many spheres of life.
This is because of overreliance of the old tricks and lack of change of tact in the advocacy engagement processes.
Unfortunately, it’s true, many disability private and public initiatives have taken place either as a second thought or organized by the few politically correct individuals.
So, if we know this to be true, what are we doing about it?
Most of the time Kenyans with disabilities have not grabbed the recent social, economic or political opportunities.
For instance, after the 2007 post-election violence there was no representation nor disability mainstreaming agenda in the Kofi anaan initiatives.
This scenario has been repeated once again in the building bridge initiative.
movement is not represented and right now is when the disability keyholders are trying to unmask the already cooked food.
The disability movement in Kenya forgets so easily if you were not on the table in preparation of meal.
You don’t have manors to demand for the cake.
It’s prudent to say the Kenyan disability sector will just get the breadcrumbs.
This is seen by upcoming mobilization of groups of disabled persons to play to the gallery even when the building bridge initiative report is yet to be made public.
The reality of the day there is not a living systematic structural engagement of disabled persons.
The barriers to public participation are either because of financial reasons or even a few individuals who have held the disability sector on ransom.
Am not surprised that currently we have an amorphous body called
Caucus on Disability Rights Advocacy.
Additionally, we still have another platform still championing on the global commitments made in July 2018.
All of these platforms still have the same individuals and agencies.
Does the common Wanjiku with disability aware of these platforms?
Is the voice of rural disability hard in these forums?
What are the tangible benefits to the change of the implementation of legal or policy frameworks?
What are other alternatives to ensure real and proper public participation and engagement of many disabled persons can be achieved rather than the few elites in the disability movement?
I opine that in article 2 of the constitution of citizen participation and article 54 should be made a reality and mandatory.
Moreover, the movement needs emancipation from the tired narratives and demand what is rightful.
For example, why do the mentioned platforms do not engage in the recent happenings as reported in the media like how children with disabilities were mistreated.
Why has the disability movement kept mum on the gazettements done by government of Kenya?
The jury is out there!
This is evidenced by below article.
The young and vibrant individuals with disabilities have a role to play.
Do not mind the lack of mentorship in the sector.
Rise up and contribute to the transformation.
Through this the youth can reduce social media lamentations.
Research shows 80% of disabled are between the ages of 18 and 64 - the workforce age.
This can have creative and innovative outcomes for the disability movement.
Additionally, the legal processes in Kenya have not favoured the disability sector.
As penned in my past articles we should await 2021 to have the repeal of the 2003 persons with disability act.
Moreover, we still have the 2006 disability policy still in draft form.
Does that sound an alarm?
Historically in Africa Kenya is admired for having best practises in disability sector but this tale is being overtaken by Rwanda and other African countries.
For instance, Kenya disability sector has been agitating for improved accessible public transport.
This hasn’t taken place and now Rwanda is boasting of implementing accessible transport by acquisition of accessible buses and subsidized fairs for disabled persons.
What more can be done?
It’s been my experience that disability sector wants to be seen as benevolent, accepting of all disabilities, and up to date in compliance. The reality is that
many don’t want to bother as long as their image is intact.
As illustrated in many forums organized by the disability sector and non-disability sector members, they don’t provide alternative formats of information or observance of reasonable accommodation.
If the disability sector made it mandatory to preach water and Drink water, I believe things will not be the same for future disability generations.
As a public scholar and a person with lived experience of being disabled.
I have a dream that one day the sector will stand tall and read declaration.
“We the disabled of Kenya from across our great Country;
Recognising the sovereignty of the Constitution of Kenya and of the great people of Kenya, 15 % of the Kenyan largest population.
Appreciating that the Constitution of Kenya is the consensus document that reflects the ‘voice of the People of Kenya’ and has ring-fenced and protected Clauses for all including disabled and other marginalized groups through various provisions.”
We express our disappointment in the lack of leadership and strong commitment by the duty bearers to ensure the implementation of the article 54 provisions.
We therefore have the following Irreducible Minimum
I passionately believe that If Kenyans with disabilities think everybody has value, everybody can be capable, and no one should be excluded. I make an appeal go and Tell your CEOs, board of directors in the disability sector and allies of the disability movement to join and rise to the occasion and change tact.
Why should the disability movement be singing to the second fiddle?
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.