The community of People With Disability (PWD) in Kilifi county have decried alienation after finding out that the names of their representatives were missing from the list of names published in the official government gazette of nominated members of the county assembly.
Accompanied by a section of Civil society organizations (CSO) in Kilifi, the community blamed the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) for excluding their representatives’ names despite the political parties presenting the names of the PWDs representatives.
Thima Abu, an official with Furaha Disability organization in Malindi condemned the act threatening to move to court if their cries will not be heard.
“Kilifi County has paid less attention to the rights of the PWDs for the second time again. Article 177 of the constitution stipulates the right of the people with disabilities to be nominated from both genders”, She continued “IEBC should explain to us why no single member from our community has been listed in the gazette to represent us”.
According to the list, Kilifi county has appointed two youth representatives and a representative of marginalized communities as well as one representative representing other ethnic groups.
Charles Kimanzi from the community organization of people with hearing disabilities in Kilifi said that the community has not been given a specific reason why the names of their representatives were excluded.
He questioned if their community should force the government to execute the constitution to citizens adding that Kenyans voted peacefully.
“We exercised our rights of voting peacefully. From the gazette names distributed all over the country some of the nominated names were missing and none of them chosen. Two PWD’s should be chosen according to the constitution but now non of us has been nominated and no explanations provided”, Kimanzi said.
Hamza Hussein, a political activist in Kilifi blamed the IEBC for the alienation of PWD representatives in the list despite the parties having presented their names to the commission.
His sentiments were echoed by Safari Kitsao Masha, person with disability residing in Kilifi who asked the government to quickly look into the issue.
“With lots of bitterness I am disappointed by what IEBC has done by misrepresenting us because no one in the office is appointed to represent us”, Kitsao said.
This action also created reactions from the Civil Society Organizations in Kilifi County.
Led by Triza Nafula Bwire, a human rights’ defender and founder of Sema Nami Mama organization asked the parties and the IEBC to address the issue as the organizations have now threatened to go to court.
“We are very keen in defending and promoting equality to all. And today we are in solidarity with the PWDs in Kilifi county to make sure justice is served. IEBC should be in a position to play their role of inclusivity.” Ms. Bwire said.
“The disability Bill states that the disabled should represent themselves and failure of the IEBC to take action in this, we will take the matter to court,” She added.
Fides Shindi from Maendeleo ya Wanawake Organization in KIlifi opposed the selection of people from outside Kilifi county to represent the residents of the county contrary to the official list presented to the parties.
“In the shortlisting, two candidates appeared, that is a male and a female, but when the gazette was distributed none of the names that had been listed there was a PWD representative.” Fides said.
“Some of those nominated in the earlier years have now been made permanent which should not be the case, others should be chosen and not from other counties like Nairobi, Eastleigh”, she added.
Fides said that they want to be represented by Kilifi county nominated members and not from other counties, noting that it is contrary to the directives of the constitution and the disability bill.