Persons living with disabilities (PLWDs) in Garissa County are now appealing for inclusion in the new administration.
Speaking to the press at a Garissa hotel, the group which included officials from different organizations appealed to Governor Nathif Jama to include their members in his administration saying that they have been excluded for long by successive regimes, since the advent of devolution.
Led by Dubat Amey, the PLWDs said that they have every reason to believe that the governor has good plans for them if his recent statements are anything to go by.
“As PLWDs we are faced with a myriad of challenges, unfortunately some of these come as a result of being neglected. We however want to commend the governor because he has committed himself to addressing some of the challenges we are facing,” Amey said.
“For a long time we have not been considered either in county government appointments, special funds or even affirmative action programs. We want to plead with our governor to back his words with action and ensure that we are integrated in everything,” he added.
Amey further called for creation of a special medical scheme that will cover PLWDs’ access to healthcare saying that some of them were severely incapacitated and sick, yet they could not afford exorbitant treatment in hospitals.
On his part, Hussein Hareth Borle called on the governor to constitute a team that will go round the county to establish the actual number of PLWDs, their age, education level as well as the nature of their challenges.
“We want to have an accurate database of our people that will help in future planning. This information will help the county because as we speak we don’t know the exact numbers of PLWDs,” Borle said.
Jawahir Ahmed, another member of the PLWDs caucus in the county, urged the governor to include people living with disability in his administration like he had promised during the campaigns.
“The governor has on several occasions promised to look into the plight of PLWDs. We will hold him accountable because if we had our own in his administration, then it would be easier for us to push for our issues,” Ahmed said.
In his inaugural speech to Garissa County Assembly last week, the governor highlighted some of the programmes he intends to roll out for the vulnerable groups, among them creating a women’s development fund to support women entrepreneurs by providing them with credit facilities and assisting them market their produce.
He also promised to implement affirmative action programs to enable PWDs realize their full potential.
Such programs, he said, will include giving preference to persons with disabilities in terms of employment.
Jama also promised to create a special fund to improve the livelihoods of persons with severe disabilities as well as reducing the negative impact of disabilities on households
The governor also promised to ensure all in deaf children and those at risk are accorded family based care, besides an appropriate support strategy for the youth.
By Erick Kyalo