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The disabled lament lack of representation in assemblies

An organization for people with disability has lamented that persons in this category were left out in the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) nomination slots in 21 County Assemblies countrywide ahead of swearing in next week.

Speaking to KNA on phone, United Disabled Persons of Kenya (UDPK) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ms Sally Nduta, said that IEBC gazette notice dated September 9, 2022 for the nomination of Members of County Assemblies excluded PWDs, alleging the same happened in 2017 general elections.

“We noted with heightened concern that there was lack of representation of Persons with Disabilities in 21 County Assemblies. This is manifested continuation of previous pattern of intentional oversight where after the 2017 General Elections a total of 22 County Assemblies did not have a single representation of Persons with Disabilities,” said the CEO.

UDPK CEO has also cited that if the 21 County Assemblies are allowed to continue without PWDs representation would diminish advocacy of disability matters.

“If we are to let the 21 counties without representation of Persons with Disabilities continue as they are, it will only serve to derail the disability agenda and elevate normalization of exclusionary practices to mainstream exacerbating difficulties faced by Persons with disabilities and pushing them further to the margins,” the organization boss said.

She further pointed out that representation of Persons with Disabilities in main decision-making spaces guarantees their inclusion in the society affairs as envisioned in the constitution of 2010.

“Open and fair democratic process should encompass within itself a component of fair representation and non-discrimination as expressed in the Kenya Constitution,” she emphasised.

Ms. Nduta lamented over-representation of one category of special interest groups in the said County Assemblies leaving out PWDs. Normally, political parties submit their nomination lists to the electoral agency in accordance with constitution and party rules.

On June 3, 2022, IEBC published a gazette notice to guide and prepare political party lists and 79 parties submitted the list of which none was in compliant. The electoral body sent the parties back to the drawing board.

IEBC further directed the political parties that, for nomination of the marginalized groups, the County Assemblies must have eight names of the marginalized and with the same qualification as the elected candidates.

In the eight nominees, two were expected to be PWDs and two from minorities respectively, the rest were women and youth. For instance, in Laikipia, United Democratic Alliance, Orange Democratic Movement and Jubilee had submitted their preferred PWDs candidates for nominations.

Laikipia which is among the 21 counties of Kwale, Kilifi and Meru and alleged to lack a PWD nominee in the recent IEBC list, have vowed to block the MCAs’ elect swearing-in ceremony slated for September 23, until their nomination grievances are addressed.

Other 17 counties are, Isiolo, Marsabit, Taita Taveta, Wajir, Tharaka Nithi, Machakos, Makueni, Turkana, West Pokot, Trans Nzoia, West Pokot, Uasin Gishu, Baringo, Narok, Kericho, Bungoma, Nyamira and Nairobi.

By Muturi Mwangi

 

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