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Walk to Mark Deaf Awareness Week in Mombasa 

This year’s deaf awareness week culminated in Mombasa with calls for equal representation of persons living with disabilities in leadership.


Speaking in Mombasa Saturday, nominated MP David Ole Sangok said devolution has helped create awareness in the country after the enactment of the new Constitution since most functions were held in the country’s capital Nairobi but they were now happening round the country.


Sango said President Uhuru Kenyatta has facilitated awareness creation through devolving functions from Nairobi including the deaf who celebrated their awareness day this year in Mombasa.


“We the disabled are the 43rd tribe in Kenya with different clans including the deaf, blind, physical disability, autism among others who have respective days to mainstream disabilities and create awareness on their diverse conditions,” he said.


Sangok observed that as the 43rd tribe, they numbered 6.5million in total with 1.5 million registered voters who speak in one voice during decision making affecting the country including elections.


“Come 2022, we will know our friends and enemies with our big numbers including our families, relatives and friends who are voters and we will influence them to vote in one basket as our back up in the fight for equal representation as enshrined in the constitution,” said Sangok.


He said the disabled faced similar challenges regardless of distance across the country and called upon them to unite in fighting their challenges for development and achievement of common objectives.


The MP urged the Mombasa County Commissioner to be made accessible since people living with disability have difficulties accessing services saying he tried to reach the CC’s 8floor office but unsuccessful since the elevators were not working and they was forced to opt for the governor’s office which is disability friendly.


“I commended the Mombasa governor Ali Hassan Joho for giving me his office to work from there until I am through including providing an ambulances and escort during the seven kilometre walk despite our party differences; he is ODM and I am in Jubilee,” observed Sangok


On mainstreaming disability, the vocal MP took issue with the chair of the National Committee on Cohesion and Equal Opportunities during a trip to New York which led to him being de-whipped from the committee saying the process was procedural but he would champion that conferences and meetings about disability should involve the disabled and not necessarily him as their representative.


“There is nothing about us without us. How do you discuss issues about us when we are not there?” asked Sangok.


He noted that many disability issues have been under looked including when they go for disaster conference where it is said people should use staircase and not the lift which left one  wondering how a physically challenged person could climb down stairs or using a wheelchair on the stairs.


He reiterated that when sirens go off during disasters, the deaf do not hear adding that likewise, it becomes a challenge for those with visual impairment to read signs.


The Jubilee MP distanced himself from commenting on the ongoing Jubilee party fiasco that saw occupation of the headquarters by the deputy party leader recently.


“We have no problem. Our party is supposed to be inviting all members.  The president extended the hand of friendship and handshake for members to join us even including welcoming Raila Odinga to join us or any other person since our logo is a handshake,” the nominated MP said.


The MP who is also a medical doctor and a surgeon from the University of Nairobi observed that disability is not inability and “that is why we seek opportunity not sympathy”.


He praised the Jubilee administration for appointing people living with disabilities to high leadership positions including Principal Secretaries, Commissioners, PMs and Senators which is commendable in trying to balance the clans within disability.


He encouraged future governments to consider putting PWDs into more positions of leadership and employment opportunities saying there is ability beyond disability.


By Joseph Kamolo


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