Include us in election activities, ‘forgotten’ PWDs urge parties, IEBC
People Living With Disabilities (PWDs) in Kwale county have appealed to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and political parties to include them in their activities.
Speaking during a PWDs meeting organised by Human Rights Agenda (Huria), over 150 PWDs county representatives led by Baddy Mwalimu, said IEBC should also organise election materials that are friendly to PWDs.
“It is our democratic right to vote, or take part in elections; therefore IEBC should consider us and prepare election materials that will be friendly to us,” Mwalimu (right) said. He noted that there should be Braille and sign language interpreters in each polling station to assist the disabled.
“Just like other PWDs who need someone to guide them at polling stations, we should also get interpreters at ballot booths to help those who need support,” Mwalimu said. Largely ignored His sentiments were echoed by Hamisi Mwamguta, lamenting that despite them being recognised by the Constitution, they had largely been ignored by election stakeholders.
“It is very sad that during this campaign period, very few politicians have incorporated sign interpreters in their rallies, or articulated an agenda on what they will do for us,” Mwamguta said. Huria’s project officer Antony Maghanga said they want to ensure the full participation of all Kenyans at the August polls.
“It is our role to make sure that every citizen takes part in the election. Every citizen above 18 years has democratic rights. Everyone should be well involved,” Maghanga said.
He said the 2019 national census indicated that there were about two million people living with disabilities in Kenya. They should be involved in national activities, too, he said.
“The IEBC should not sideline them in the elections. Even those who cannot see should be assisted with Braille,” Maghanga said. He urged politicians to make their agendas friendly to PWDs since they are part of the community. “
You usually make agendas for women and the youth; what about PWDs yet they are also part of our community? Do not sideline them. They also need empowerment and development projects,” he stated.