Persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Marakwet West Sub County have raised their voices in protest against what they perceive as overly stringent measures that are hindering their participation in the ongoing registration for the Inua Jamii Programme.
Led by Arnold Kipyeng, a caregiver for his disabled mother, they are demanding a more inclusive approach that considers a broader range of impairments.
Kipyeng, speaking passionately during a protest held outside the Marakwet West Deputy County Commissioner’s office, highlighted their concerns regarding the eligibility criteria.
He pointed out that the current requirement for individuals to have severe disabilities in order to qualify for the cash transfer programme excludes a significant portion of PWDs.
“We have so many PWDs who want to join the programme but have been locked out of the exercise due to the requirement that they need to have severe disabilities,” Kipyeng lamented, emphasising the daily challenges faced by PLWDs in the region.
Kipyeng’s advocacy resonated with the rest of the protesting PWDs. They expressed frustration that the ongoing registration exercise has not adequately addressed their needs.
The protesters argued that the programme should support all PWDs, regardless of the severity of their disabilities, to ensure that no one is left behind.
Leah Kimutai, a member of the PWD community, voiced her concern over the discriminatory nature of the current regulations.
“These regulations are unfair to us as they discriminate against those of us struggling with various impairments that have left us vulnerable in society,” she said.
Furthermore, the demonstrators claimed that they have faced bureaucratic obstacles and delays in obtaining assistance despite their continuous efforts.
Edna Chelanga, a caregiver for PWDs, stressed that individuals with disabilities are already well documented within society and have undergone rigorous medical examinations.
She argued that there should be no restrictions on their inclusion in the cash transfer programme.
Chelanga also expressed her disappointment that older citizens were given priority over young PWDs, who are at the beginning of their lives and could benefit significantly from the programme.
While addressing the protesters, Kapsowar Ward Assistant County Commissioner Jumbale Chibanza acknowledged their grievances and frustration.
However, he clarified that the current government instructions require beneficiaries to have severe disabilities necessitating round-the-clock care.
As government officials, they are bound by these regulations and cannot deviate from them unless they are officially changed.
In response to the PWDs’ calls for inclusion and assistance, Chibanza encouraged the community to reach out to higher authorities and policymakers to discuss potential changes to the eligibility criteria.
The demonstrators also issued an appeal to President William Ruto, citing their support for him during the elections. They requested his intervention to ensure that all PWDs in Marakwet West can access cash transfer funds without limitations.
The PWDs in Marakwet West Sub County are demanding a more inclusive approach to the Inua Jamii Programme registration. They argue that the current stringent measures, which require severe disabilities for eligibility, are locking out many deserving individuals.
Their call for change underscores the need for a more comprehensive support system that accommodates the diverse needs of the PWD community in the region.
By Rennish Okong’o