In President William Ruto’s administration, I never expected that he would ignore persons with disabilities in his list of appointees. That came as a shocker.
With the former regime having had Josephta Mukobe, a person with disability as PS for Heritage and Special Programmes, I expected the number would increase. I have expressed myself here before on the same issue when I noted that the Public Service Commission had initially shortlisted an inordinately low number of PWDs and other special interest groups in its first list of 477.
However, that was rectified with the number pushed to 585. PSC admitted that the second list had been necessitated by need to ‘deepen inclusivity as regards to gender, youth, minority groups and PWDs’. Going by the list released by President Ruto, it seems that exercise was futile.
Those who took time off from their daily duties to attend the interview should have found something better to do. The matter was long decided. According to LSK, two nominees were not even shortlisted.
The Constitution is clear about the place of PWDs in government appointments. Section 54(2) states that the state shall progressively ensure 5 per cent of persons in elective or appointive positions are PWDs. This was in 2010. Some 12 years later PWDs are still haggling and coming out with nothing. Those positions have been used to reward political cronies. In a country with over a million people with disabilities, there is a lot of value in having them represented. First, it is a social motivation but more importantly, it gives them a voice.
As I mulled over this anomaly, it hit me again that my home county of Nyamira had missed out on CS and PS appointments. Just hours before the appointments, Parliament Majority Whip Sylvanus Osoro had bragged at how he was now close to power and was sure three PSs were to come from Kisii and Nyamira. He had to eat his words.
Now, I never get excited just because a person of my tribe or from my village has been appointed to a government position. It has to be something more than that; competence, experience and grasp of issues. It has to be someone a community is proud to send to the national stage.
However, where a criteria of regional balance has been chosen, it has to apply fairly. Nyamira County is not a sub county of Kisii. Nyamira is a full-fledged county and home to some of the greatest leaders; including former Chief Justice David Maraga. In the list of shortlisted nominees were well suited people including one who could have killed two birds with one stone; first by being a PWD who is well qualified to serve in the position and secondly by being born in Nyamira.
I hope this double disappointment will be resolved soonest. This time, the President must compensate PWDs with a few extra positions in remaining appointments. Same for people of Nyamira.