Include more persons with disabilities in appointments

Outgoing Special Programs PS Josepheta Makobe (front) with National Council for Persons With Disabilities Chairman David Ole Sankok in a previous event. [File, Standard]

At the height of the campaigns, President William Ruto signed different charters with various groups in an attempt to lock groups of voters in the race to State House.

His Kenya Kwanza alliance signed health, education, women and youth charters. This is separate from the charters signed with individual counties.

For example, he promised the youth 30 per cent of all appointive positions in the Government while women were to make half of his Cabinet.

He also promised an agency that will handle women issues, which will be domiciled at the Office of the President to be led by a female official sitting in the Cabinet.

Among the charters signed was one with Persons Living with Disabilities to include them in the Government. While it is still too early to decide whether President Ruto will have an all-inclusive government or not, the early signs are not so encouraging.

While naming his Cabinet Secretaries nominees, President Ruto did not meet his 50 per cent gender promise neither did he include any persons living with disability.

Article 54(2) of the Constitution states clearly that the State shall progressively implement the principle that at least five per cent of the people in elective and appointive bodies are persons with disability. Having missed the Cabinet slots, PWD will be rightly looking for slots in the remaining appointments starting with the Principal Secretaries and other parastatal board appointments.

It is notable that the revised list by the Public Service Commission for those shortlisted for the position of Principle Secretaries has more PWDs. The original one had only five out of the initial 477 persons shortlisted.

It will take a deliberate and conscious effort and political goodwill by the Ruto administration not only to include PWDs, but other minority groups as well.

There also has to be equity and fairness in the consideration of not only the PWDs but all other minority groups by the PSC with regards to State jobs. This must be driven by the realisation that inclusivity will allow for a fairer society and will also form the basis for a stronger economy.

President Ruto’s coming appointments must capture the needs, aspirations and expectations of every section of society.