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PWDs deserve fair political representation

OPINION
By Moses Kilonzo | September 4th 2021

Bomet Governor Hillary Barchok (right) launching the distribution of wheelchairs to 500 Persons Living With Disabilities across the county.[Gilbert Kimutai,Standard]

The drafters of the 2010 Constitution decided to undo the representation paradox by coming up with a clear framework on how Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) should be represented politically.

However, political parties have abused this carte blanch bestowed on them by our Constitution and use the nominations to reward their friends, financiers and relatives. This explains why political simpletons find themselves in the august House in the name of PWDs since the nominations were not based on meritocracy.

This locks out able PWDs and dents public faith in us since they only see incapable leaders. The public think we have no ideas unless others do it for us.  This weakens our bargaining power and we even lose out on more government appointments. The public becomes myopic, not by choice but by default, and makes it very difficult for any PWD to win any election.

The most discriminative legislative piece in my view, is the one reserving 30 per cent of jobs and tenders for women, youth and PWDs. How do you flock youth, women and PWDs together and give them 30 per cent of government undertakings?

According to the last census, women are 51 per cent of our population, youth are slightly above 75 per cent, then throw PWDs in there and give them a mere 30 per cent? Where does the remaining 70 per cent go? To men only? This exposes untold marginalisation.

Unless the PWDs become super humans, where on earth will they ever get the hefty funds needed for campaigns leave alone their livelihood? This reduces them to broke aspirants and persons to be easily used and misused.

I appeal to the political parties to understand why it is important to have competent PWDs in Parliament and what is expected of them. Let them do their nominations prudently ahead of next year’s elections and pick the most deserving and courageous PWDs.

The parties should also waive nomination fees, as an affirmative action, for qualified PWDs seeking any political seat. This will encourage many PWDs to take part in politics and increase representation.

Finally, to all presidential aspirants in 2022, we would like to have PWDs in cabinet positions. Let’s not view inclusivity from the tribal and ethnic prism. Let PWDs be included in all aspects of governance since no one wishes to either be born with or acquire disability.

We must treat everyone fairly for tomorrow is concealed to everyone. I would have never thought that one day I would be visually impaired untill the reality hit me at 17 years old.

Chairman Persons with disability, lower Eastern.

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