PWDs decry lack of representation, legal framework to protect their rights
While Kenya is seen as a model in terms of promoting the rights of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) by the virtue of having a constitution that highlights the rights, stakeholders say a lot is to be done.
Speaking in a stakeholders forum powered by Global Labour Program-Inclusive Futures, and held in Nairobi to discuss legal frameworks that anchor rights of persons with disabilities in Kenya, Sally Nduta who is the CEO of the United Disabled Persons of Kenya (UDPK) said PWDs still face major discrimination in their day-to-day activities.
Citing representation of PWDs in the county assemblies, Nduta revealed that 20 county assemblies have no representation of persons with disabilities at all, which in effect, denies them the right to participate in decision making and governance processes.
“If you look at representations in county assemblies now, we are doing very poorly and now we have 20 county assemblies that make decisions, plan and allocate budgets without persons with disabilities sitting at the table,” Nduta revealed.
She asserted that currently, persons living with disabilities do not have a substantive legislation that speaks to anti-discrimination and that a number of these people have been discriminated but there is nobody or institution that can be held accountable.
Her sentiments were echoed by the Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) in the Office of the Prime Cabinet Secretary and former Senator Isaac Mwaura who said that though there is progress in ensuring new law is enacted for PWDs, there is a lot to be done because there are certain types of disabilities that have not been accepted by employers.
“I’m very concerned that we are not yet there because certain types of disabilities are yet to be accepted by employers so such people end up doing different things from what they pursued in schools, ” Mwaura said.
However Mwaura expressed frustrations in passing bills that support persons with disabilities whenever they are tabled in parliament. He attributes this to disunity among the stakeholders and to the fact that everyone wants credit to an extent that they forget the bigger picture.
He therefore urged stakeholders to be united and to support bills presented in parliament for their benefit.
Stakeholders are pushing for a repeal and replacement of the Persons With Disabilities Act 2003 with a new law that is fully consistent with the standards and requirements of the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities.
They are proposing that the new law should properly define disability in line with the social model of disability and prohibit all forms of discrimination in all areas of life.
The stakeholders are also pushing for the finalization, adoption and implementation of the National Disability Policy by both national and county governments.
They want all these measures taken with full participation of persons with disabilities.