Margaret Kenyatta visits Migori, launches project targeting persons with disabilities

First lady Margaret Kenyatta during the distribution of mobility devices to 180 persons living with disabilities in Migori county on April 17th 2018. (Collins Oduor, Standard)

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta was accorded a pompous welcome to Migori  County with area Governor Okoth Obado describing her visit as proof of changing the political landscape.

Obado and his wife Hellen who led thousands of Migori residents in welcoming the First Lady on Tuesday, said her acceptance to visit the opposition stronghold confirmed to Kenyans the recent handshake between the President and Opposition leader Raila Odinga was genuine.

Mrs Kenyatta landed at the Migori airstrip on military helicopter and was received by a large crowd of cheerful youth who escorted her motorcade to Marindi about five Kilometres from the town along Migori-Isebania road.

It is along this highway where opposition supporters vented their anger against the Jubilee government during the post-election chaos in August and October last year.

The road was rendered impassable for several hours as protesters burnt tyres to protest President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election.

But on this day, it was song and dance as a smiling Mrs Kenyatta waved at the crowd.

Mrs Kenyatta was in Migori to grace the distribution of 140 wheelchairs donated by Kenya Relief Organsiation.

Mr Obado said the tour signified the impact of the handshake between the two leaders at the footsteps of Harambee House in March 9 this year.

“We are very happy to have you here and this visit proves that the handshake has indeed, when you go back, please tell president Uhuru that Nyanza is ready to receive him,” he said.

He added the new found unity had put the country on a path to reconciliation and economic recovery.

“For us to build a strong economy founded on a common ground and drive, peace and stability are very important and we are happy the handshake is tearing down the ethnic divide.”

“With unity even the Big four agenda will become a reality because it is only when a country pulls in one direction that national development and growth can be achieved,” he said.

When she rose to speak, Mrs Kenyatta was received with applause.

She said women and children living with disabilities remained marginalised and discriminated against across the country.

The First Lady said she has launched a drive to register persons living with disabilities, as well as access to health services and education for children.

“Disadvantaged and vulnerable communities – especially women and children – continue to be among the most marginalized; they are at higher risk of experiencing poverty than any other social groups. It is for this reason that I have committed the next five years to highlight the needs of disabled people, especially children," said the First Lady.

She added: "I am committed to looking for interventions that provide social protection, as well as social inclusion so that we can accelerate progress where it has been slow."

Mrs Kenyatta praised the Kenya Relief Organization for its support to the country’s ambition for universal health coverage by 2022.